TuSimple Cleared by FMCSA Over 2022 Arizona Incident

A TuSimple autonomous truck in traffic
A TuSimple truck in traffic. The company says it faces no penalties from FMCSA for an incident in Arizona when one of its trucks struck a concrete barrier on Interstate 10. (TuSimple)

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Autonomous driving technology company TuSimple said it has been cleared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concerning an April 6, 2022, incident in Tucson, Ariz., when one of its trucks struck a concrete barrier on Interstate 10, which resulted in no injuries.

TuSimple said it self-reported the incident to federal and state officials and said “a human error occurred” when two operators incorrectly re-engaged the autonomous driving mode without completing all of the steps necessary to safely engage, resulting in the truck scraping a median.

The company said during the investigation it cooperated with officials from FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. No penalties were brought against the company.

“We prioritize safety at TuSimple. After the incident, we halted autonomous operations, launched an internal review and collaborated with regulators,” President and CEO Cheng Lu said in a statement. “Our review resulted in additional improvements in our systems and testing operations. We are committed to continuing our mission of developing a commercial-ready, fully autonomous [SAE Level 4] driving solution for longhaul heavy-duty trucks.”

After the incident, TuSimple said it upgraded all of its systems with new, automated checks “to prevent this kind of human error from ever happening again,” the company said.

During its second-quarter 2022 earnings call, TuSimple again repeated its plans to continue commercializing its operations, in which no human being serving as a safety driver is in the vehicle. Last December, TuSimple completed a driver-out demonstration along an 80-mile stretch in Arizona and has completed several more runs since.

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