Navistar International Corporation, which makes International commercial trucks, proprietary diesel engines, and IC Bus school and commercial buses, has entered into a strategic partnership with TuSimple, a global self-driving technology company, to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving trucks targeted for production by 2024.

This partnership follows a successful technical relationship between the companies for over two years.

Navistar has also taken a minority stake in TuSimple.

"Autonomous technology is entering our industry and will have a profound impact on our customers' businesses," said Persio Lisboa, Navistar's president and CEO.

"Navistar's strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organizations' collective expertise to integrate our vehicle design and systems integration capabilities with TuSimple's innovative autonomous technology."

The companies said the programme would result in fully integrated engineering ready for mass-production using Navistar's vehicle manufacturing capabilities.

Customers would be able to purchase the fully autonomous trucks through Navistar's traditional sales channels in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"TuSimple and Navistar began joint development of pre-production units in 2018 and now we are kicking off a full go to market production programme," said Cheng Lu, president, TuSimple."The investment in TuSimple and the partnership with Navistar marks an important milestone for our company.

"With the combined expertise…, we have a clear path to commercialise self-driving Class 8 trucks at scale."

Last December, TuSimple announced results of a study by the University of California San Diego that showed the company's autonomous driving technology reduced fuel consumption in heavy duty trucks by 10% when compared to traditional operations.

The company operates a fleet of 40 self driving trucks in the US, shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and McLane Company between Arizona and Texas.

TuSimple plans to demonstrate completely driverless operations in 2021.