June 16, 2021 - Dallas Business Journal

Autonomous trucking company opens new DFW hub for more states, set to have 50 workers

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A California autonomous trucking company’s new North Texas site is open as it looks to expand eastward.

TuSimple has added a facility in AllianceTexas in Fort Worth to support the growing reach of its “freight network,” it announced on Wednesday.

“We're very optimistic,” said Lee White, vice president of Strategy at TuSimple, in an interview. “Alliance is a great facility for us. … It's in the right place.”

The new site at AllianceTexas adds over 50 new transportation jobs to the local community, including safety drivers, maintenance technicians and operations personnel. The company has over 900 workers overall and is based in San Diego, according to White.

The new Dallas-area site is the first of three steps for a national network for shipping freight by 2024. The locale will serve as a key hub for its push into more states including Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina, according to White. It also buttresses an expansion in Texas.

“We see this Alliance facility as really our anchor to our operational growth moving eastward,” White said.

The opening of the new site, which is in addition to a locale for TuSimple at the DFW airport, is six months ahead of schedule.

The new effort will continue the company’s testing of autonomous trucks that are using TuSimple’s added technology. There are two people in the trucks, including a safety driver and test engineer.

The company has an agreement with Navistar for autonomous trucks in 2024, White said.

“The autonomous freight network gives customers access to a low-cost, safe, middle-mile and long-haul solution," White said. "It's going to help solve some of the driver shortages that we have out there.”

The Dallas region has been attracting investments from other autonomous trucking companies. That includes Aurora, whose investors include Amazon, which said last month it will be moving into a second, larger office to accommodate its growing employee base and testing fleet. Earlier this week, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Waymo announced a collaboration to autonomously move freight in a test run that includes Fort Worth.