TuSimple announced Wednesday that Jim Mullen, the former acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), will serve as the self-driving truck company’s chief legal and risk officer.
In his new role, Mullen will oversee legal affairs and risk management strategy and help continue to develop TuSimple’s approach to safety.
Mullen’s experience leading the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FMCSA will “prove to be invaluable to our company as we work to introduce L4 autonomous trucks to the market by 2024,” said TuSimple President Cheng Lu in a statement.
“Additionally, Jim brings over 15 years of legal experience in the trucking industry and that wealth of knowledge will support public and private partnerships as TuSimple continues to scale autonomous operations,” he said.
Widely regarded as one of the leading startup contenders in the self-driving truck space, TuSimple operates a fleet of autonomous trucks on its Autonomous Freight Network. The company has said repeatedly that it plans to demonstrate driverless operations in 2021.
In the past few months, the San Diego-based startup has shored up its partnerships considerably as it moves toward commercialization. Last week TuSimple announced a partnership with VW’s TRATON Group, an agreement that builds on an existing partnership sealed earlier this summer between TuSimple and Navistar (NYSE: NAV).
Also this summer, TuSimple announced partnerships with transportation providers U.S. Xpress and Penske Truck Leasing and Berkshire Hathaway-owned grocery and food-service distributor McLane.
While leading the FMCSA in Washington, Mullen was responsible for regulating more than 530,000 trucking companies, 12,000 bus and motorcoach operators and approximately 4 million interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.
Touted accomplishments during his FMCSA tenure include hours of service reform, autonomous commercial vehicle rulemaking, contributions to the DOT’s AV 3.0 and 4.0. and leadership of the agency during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before joining the DOT, Mullen ran a consulting firm specializing in transportation and cross-border trade. He also served as the executive vice president and general counsel for Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN).