Startup spotlight: autonomous trucking with TuSimple

By William Smith
San Diego-based autonomous trucking unicorn TuSimple was founded in 2015 with the intent of developing self-driving autonomous trucks. The company is a...

San Diego-based autonomous trucking unicorn TuSimple was founded in 2015 with the intent of developing self-driving autonomous trucks.

The company is aiming to drive trucks which reach level 4 on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Levels of Driving Automation Standard. Although below the highest level 5 standard, denoting vehicles fully autonomous in all situations, level 4 vehicles of the type TuSimple are developing are able to drive fully autonomously in specific circumstances – such as the usual trucking fare of highways and depots.

Today, TuSimple announced the raising of a further $120mn for the company’s oversubscribed series D round, summing with the $95mn raised in February for a total of $215mn. Led by Sina Corp of Weibo fame, the round also included CDH Investments, Mando Corporation and delivery company UPS.


The backing from UPS is perhaps the most significant, representing a thumbs up for the technology from a major player. Indeed, in TuSimple’s press release, the company hailed the support as a “first-of-its-kind strategic investment from a shipper” into autonomous trucking.

In August, UPS itself announced that it was testing TuSimple’s services on a route in Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson. The trials began in May, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle, which nevertheless operates autonomously.

TuSimple suggested the funding would help it to disrupt the existing trucking industry, with its technology making possible self-driving heavy duty trucks of the highest classification. Estimating the industry in the US as being worth $800bn, TuSimple identified the advantages of autonomous trucking as including increased safety, lowered costs and reduced carbon emissions.

Cheng Lu, TuSimple’s CFO, told Business Insider: "We're very fortunate to have these shareholders and now new investors. It puts us, I would say, well ahead of the pack in terms of our funding. We're very well capitalized to continue our development effort as we progress to commercial production."


Featured Articles

Cyber increasingly a growth enabler, Deloitte study shows

Deloitte's 2023 Global Future of Cyber survey highlights the imperative for organisations to move cybersecurity from threat assessment to growth enabler

Trillions of dollars created by growing US wireless industry

In 2020 alone, the US wireless industry created US$1.3 trillion in gross output, $825 billion in GDP, and over four million jobs for the national economy

Energy crisis posing threat to IT companies' sustainability

A staggering 79% of IT decision-makers believe that the current energy crisis will have a knock-on effect on their net zero sustainability strategies

Data backup gives way to data protection and cybersecurity

Cloud & Cybersecurity

Rich investors drawn to digital assets despite crypto crash

Digital Transformation

Five minutes with: Katie Nykanen, Group CTO at QA

Digital Transformation