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For Robot Trucks, Navigating Highways Is Just One Bump in the Road


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A TuSimple truck equipped with the company's autonomous driving system drives on Interstate Highway 10 in Tucson, AZ.

A successful commercial deployment would go a long way to building confidence in self-driving technology, which Silicon Valley has been developing for about 12 years but which is still largely limited to small-scale pilot projects with drivers behind the wheel.

Credit: Cassidy Araiza/The Wall Street Journal

On a recent scorching day on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz., a tractor-trailer equipped with an autonomous-driving system from technology company TuSimple Holdings Inc. waited at a busy overpass until the light turned green and a voice came over the intercom in the cab: "intersection clear."

The steering wheel revolved and the truck turned left, rolling itself down a highway on-ramp while in the driver's seat veteran truck driver Mickie Muller watched closely, her hands poised just over the wheel and feet perched near the floor pedals.

For TuSimple, it was a perfectly-executed maneuver, one the company has practiced repeatedly under mostly ideal conditions on a familiar route.

From The Wall Street Journal
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