Plus (formerly Plus.ai) announced that SF Express has selected the company for China’s first commercial freight pilot to demonstrate how supervised autonomous trucks improve logistics operations. As part of the ongoing pilot, Plus is running its supervised autonomous trucks on two long-haul routes, Wuhan to Wuxi (900 miles round-trip) and Changshu to Wuhan (1,000 miles round-trip).

Plus has operated over 100,000 kilometers (over 62,000 miles) autonomously with zero safety-related disengagements since the inception of the pilot. Data from the trips demonstrate 20% fuel savings and the operators have reported improved peace of mind and enhanced comfort.

In partnership with fleet operator, Zhihong Logistics, Plus and SF Express started the pilot in December 2020 as part of SF Express’s continued efforts to leverage advanced technology innovations to bring efficiencies to its highly competitive logistics business. SF Express, regarded as “China’s UPS”, operates its own fleet of 43,000 trucks and covers over 100,000 routes. Plus was selected for its unique autonomous driving solution, PlusDrive, which is designed to keep a professional truck operator in the vehicle to supervise the autonomous driving system.

This approach allows SF Express to optimize the efficiency of its current fleet and not wait years for full driverless trucks to be ready. The two long-haul routes for the pilot, each of which take two to three days to complete round-trip, were chosen for Plus to demonstrate the full potential of its autonomous driving system to improve safety, reduce fuel cost, enhance driver comfort, and lower carbon emissions.

Results from the SF Express pilot, in terms of fuel savings, enhanced safety, and positive driver feedback, are similar to those from pilots Plus has conducted for other large fleets. Early pilot partners have pre-ordered over 10,000 units of PlusDrive, which will be mass produced starting this summer.

Fleets that adopt PlusDrive today will make their trucks safer, optimize fuel economy, and keep truck operators more comfortable. Over the next few years, Plus will transform the long-haul trucking industry by enabling tens of thousands of autonomous heavy trucks in the U.S., China, and Europe.