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"UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently," UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price said in a statement. "While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet."
The potential for autonomous vehicles was a subject of negotiations in talks for a UPS-Teamsters labor contract for drivers and others who handle small packages.
The deal struck last year calls for the company to review technological changes with the union six months before rolling out changes, such as the deployment of delivery drones, driverless vehicles or other innovations.
Late last year, the threat of a strike by UPS Freight workers prompted the company to disrupt freight service. UPS Freight handles bulk shipments on pallets from shippers to stores, and when the union announced the potential for a strike, the company temporarily cleared its network of freight until workers approved the new contract.