Dallas-based developer Hillwood and autonomous trucking startup TuSimple are expanding their collaboration, big-time—with a million-square-foot TuSimple facility in Hillwood’s AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (The MIZ) in North Fort Worth.
The two companies say they will integrate TuSimple’s infrastructure specs into current and future industrial and commercial properties.
TuSimple has already been running operations from the MIZ throughout the “Texas Triangle” freight corridor. Last summer, it opened a 2.5-acre logistics hub at AllianceTexas, creating 50 jobs. Though its trucks are self-driving, each ride is overseen by a safety driver and a test engineer in the truck’s cabin. That is, except in one case so far: On December 22, TuSimple made its first fully autonomous—and human-unaccompanied—semi-truck trip from Tucson to Phoenix, a journey of 80 miles.
“We partnered with TuSimple, a leader in autonomous trucking, to provide the guidance and technical parameters required to prepare this new facility for the rapid adoption and expansion of autonomous trucking operations throughout the region and beyond,” said Ross Perot, Jr., chairman of Hillwood, in a statement. “The on-demand economy is driving a technological transformation within the logistics industry, and through our partnership with TuSimple, the MIZ will be ready to meet that demand.”
Expands TuSimple’s autonomous freight network
TuSimple, which was founded in 2015, aims to revolutionize the estimated $4 trillion global freight market with its autonomous technology for semi-trucks. The company went public last year, raising over $1 billion in its IPO.
Its new MIZ facility will serve as an origin and destination facility for L4 autonomous trucks utilizing San Diego-based TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System (ADS), with two-way launch and landing pads. It will be designed and upfitted to meet TuSimple’s operational and technical requirements that accommodate its Operational Design Domain (ODD), and are compatible with the current and future expansion of the TuSimple autonomous freight network.
“We’re seeing unprecedented demand for autonomous trucking capacity as the logistics industry looks for ways to become safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” said Cheng Lu, TuSimple’s president and CEO, in the statement. “Hillwood’s investment in these properties today will make it easier for companies to adopt, integrate and scale autonomous trucking operations.”
With the expansion of the TuSimple autonomous freight network, Hillwood says it is “actively preparing to meet the demand for autonomous trucks by getting properties ready for autonomous trucking operations.”
Facility site is near two of TuSimple’s major freight partners
Located just off I-35 near Fort Worth Alliance Airport, The MIZ is near the facilities of TuSimple’s major freight-partner facilities, UPS and DHL. The MIZ is also close to a major distribution hub and the largest freight market in the U.S.
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