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TuSimple and PCC Announce Autonomous Vehicle Driver Program

Certificate Program Noted as 'First of its Kind'

June 13, 2019

TUCSON, AZ -- Pima Community College and self-driving truck company TuSimple announced today the launch of the first autonomous driving certificate program for truck drivers. The Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist program will equip truck drivers with the knowledge and skills to expand their roles in this new and rapidly expanding industry. The certificate will prepare individuals for jobs such as training the autonomous system as test drivers, operating the vehicle in situations where autonomous driving is not suitable and to remotely monitor the system from a command center.

The Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program will teach experienced truck drivers how to operate and work with autonomous trucks in as quickly as one semester. The program requires a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) prior to enrollment as drivers will build on their trucking knowledge with each course.

TuSimple and Pima Community College have co-created a curriculum for the certificate program that comprises of five classes. The courses are: Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles, Industrial Safety, Computer Hardware Components, Electrical Systems I, as well as, Transportation and Traffic Management. In conjunction with the program, TuSimple will prioritize hiring graduates of the certificate program for jobs at its Tucson, AZ testing and development center.

“It’s clear that the future of truck transportation will offer new employment opportunities for today’s drivers but it will require a set of new skills,” stated Lee Lambert, Chancellor, Pima Community College. “Working with TuSimple to develop this Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program ensures our students will build competencies in multiple areas – from logistics and information technology to automated industrial technology. These areas are being transformed by autonomy and drivers will need training in order to interact with autonomous trucks.”

The program will be offered at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ, starting September 2019 and registration will begin in August 2019. Pima Community College and TuSimple will collaborate with other schools interested in offering the same program. For information or to enroll, please call Pima Community College’s Center for Transportation Training at 520-206-2744.

“In keeping with TuSimple’s mission to create the safest autonomous driving fleet, an essential aspect of the training program is to ensure that drivers have access to appropriate training for this new technology and employment opportunities,” stated Dr. Xiaodi Hou, Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer, TuSimple. “We commend Pima Community College for offering this innovative and exciting program that can help address the acute driver shortage. The program offers driving professionals a smooth transition into an emerging field that requires different skill sets in addition to existing truck driving knowledge by providing training.”

This certificate program was created along the backdrop of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) study examining how the development and deployment of automated vehicle-related technology is expected to impact the transportation workforce. The first phase of the DOT study will focus on the long-haul trucking and transit bus sectors and will result in a Report to Congress, expected in summer 2019. TuSimple, recognizing that autonomous technology creates new jobs, wants to be a catalyst in providing talent to and access to job opportunities in the transportation industry.

The trucking industry is currently facing a significant driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) it could reach 175,000 by 2024. Experts say it is difficult to attract young people into the profession, the average driver age has climbed to 55 years old, and drivers aren’t staying in the field, the industry is approaching a 100 percent turnover rate per year.

TuSimple is driven to help address the driver shortage and help improve road safety. TuSimple is the only company able to drive fully autonomously from depot-to-depot with the industry’s most advanced self-driving perception system for trucks. Most recently, TuSimple collaborated with the United States Postal Service (USPS) on a two-week pilot program to haul mail between Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas USPS distribution centers. The company is well on its way to achieving its goal of bringing the first driverless truck to market - creating a safer, cleaner and more efficient trucking industry.

About Pima Community College

Founded in 1969, Pima Community College is one of the largest multi-campus community college districts in the U.S.  PCC offers degrees and certificates in more than 100 transfer and occupational programs on six campuses and more than 100 teaching sites throughout Pima County. To learn more, visit or call (520) 206-4500.

About TuSimple  

TuSimple is a global self-driving truck company based in San Diego, California and operating self-driving trucks out of Tucson, Arizona. Founded in 2015, TuSimple is developing a commercial-ready Level 4 (SAE) fully-autonomous driving solution for the logistics industry. TuSimple’s trucks are the first and only capable of self-driving from depot-to-depot and do so every day for its customers. The company is driven by a mission to increase safety, decrease transportation costs, and reduce carbon emissions. For more information, please visit, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Media Contacts:

Pima Community College: Libby Howell, email, 520-206-4778 

TuSimple: Stacy Morris, email, 310-415-9188

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