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Watch ‘world’s first’ big rig run from Tucson to Phoenix without a human in the cab


An autonomous driving tech company recently shared dash cam video featuring a semi truck’s 80 mile trek on public roadways without a human safety driver on board.

According to a December 29 announcement from San Diego-based tech company TuSimple, the historic test run took place on December 22.

The company says that a “specially upfitted” Class 8 truck travelled during the evening hours from a railyard in Tucson, Arizona to a high-volume distribution center in the Phoenix metro area, traveling about 80 miles on surface streets and highways.

“The one-hour and 20-minute drive is the first time a class 8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention and is part of an ongoing test program that will continue into 2022. The test was performed in close collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement. The autonomous driving test was 100% operated by TuSimple’s ADS without a human on-board, without remote human control of the vehicle, and without traffic intervention,” TuSimple said in a news release.

“By achieving this momentous technical milestone, we demonstrated the advanced capabilities of TuSimple’s autonomous driving system and the commercial maturity of our testing process, prioritizing safety and collaboration every step of the way. This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale,” said Cheng Lu, President, and CEO, TuSimple. “This year, we were laser-focused on putting our technology through a rigorous test on open public roads under real-world conditions, and to see all our hard work and dedication come together is extremely rewarding.”

You can view dash cam video from the Tucson to Phoenix trip below.

TuSimple provided a listing of notable on-board events that occur during the video.

1. Start – 0:40

2. Pedestrian – 4:27

3. W3 merge into highway – 4:58

4. Accept merge in – 8:34

5. Active changing to the right lane – 9:25

6. Parallel truck looking into the cabin – 10:06

7. Curious parallel truck checking us again – 10:46

8. Aggressive cut in – 17:55

9. Avoid ELV – 28:03

10. Overtake slow vehicles – 29:38

11. Right lane preference – 30:46

12. Avoid ELV and interact with other vehicles – 38:53

13. Avoid ELV – 42:51

14. Avoid ELV, Emergency vehicle detected – 53:36

15. Avoid ELV – 54:16

16. Detection of a police vehicle, and lane change afterward – 1:02:01

17. Avoid police vehicle – 1:08:18

18. Right lane preference after the ELV – 1:13:28

19. Clear the blind-zone – N/A unsure what is referred to here

20. Last turn and End of the Trip – 1:22:35


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