Startup spotlight: autonomous trucking with TuSimple
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."
Searching for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology
The search is on for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology 2021 – nominated by readers of Technology magazine and open to all.
The initiative has been launched and nominations are now open, with the final, prestigious Top 100 due to be announced during Technology and AI LIVE running 14-16 September, beamed from London to the world.
This latest, definitive list of the leading executives and influencers in the industry will be announced at the event and shared across social media channels, this website, and presented in a special supplement that honours all of those named in our annual list.
The Top 100 Leaders follows on from the well-received Top 100 Women in Technology that BizClik Media Group (BMG) – publishers of Technology magazine, AI magazine and a growing portfolio of industry-leading titles – produced in March this year to coincide with International Women’s Day.
“The Top 100 Women recognised the incredible and influential women driving our industry,” says Scott Birch, editorial director, BMG. “The success of that initiative encouraged us to recognise the Top 100 Leaders – individuals championing everything that we love about technology and embracing best practice that’s good for business.”
Nominations are already coming in, with some notable highlights including:
Rhonda Vetere - Herbalife
Bryan Smith - Expedient
Nominate your Top 100 Leader HERE
The deadline for nominations closes on Sunday 1 August 2021, and it is free to nominate. The Top 100 Leaders will be announced across our platforms and at the LIVE event.