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TuSimple secures $55m for autonomous truck testing

The autonomous trucking company raised $55 million in a Series C funding round led by Composite Capital, with participation from existing investors Sina and ZP Capital.

   TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has raised $55 million in a Series C funding round led by Composite Capital, with participation from existing investors Sina and ZP Capital, TuSimple revealed Tuesday.
   The company’s previous investors include artificial intelligence computing giant NVIDIA.
   Founded in 2015, TuSimple is working to establish the first commercially deployable autonomous trucking platform with Level 4 SAE standards of safety. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has established six levels of automation, with 0 being no automation and five being full automation.
   TuSimple said the latest round of funding will enable it to scale testing to two full truck fleets, one in China and one in the United States. This also includes building out a production engineering team in Tucson, Ariz. In addition, TuSimple said it will use the funding to further its commitment to research and development in San Diego and Beijing.
   Just this month, the company demonstrated its SAE Level 4 self-driving system in Shanghai, and is ramping up deployment efforts in the U.S., starting in Tucson.
   “The completion of an SAE Level 4 test means the entire demonstration was handled by the system, without any human intervention,” the company said.
   TuSimple, which focuses on line-haul trucking, transporting cargo between ports, plants, warehouses, and distribution centers, said it plans to utilize its technology to address the challenges of road safety and driver shortages the industry faces today, while helping to cut down on carbon emissions through more optimized driving.
   “Human error and driver fatigue account for a large portion of truck accidents,” TuSimple CEO Mo Chen said.
   The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sees great potential in automated vehicle safety technologies, noted how U.S. highways claimed 37,461 lives in 2016, and that 94 percent of serious crashes are due to dangerous choices or errors people make behind the wheel.
   “TuSimple is proud that our research and development efforts can help bring innovation to the trucking market and make the roads safer for everyone,” Chen said.
   TuSimple said that in July 2017, it successfully completed a 170-mile public road test from San Diego to Yuma, Ariz. using its level 4 system. Its L4 autonomous truck started testing on public roads in China in September 2017, and has already accumulated more than 15,000 autonomous miles.
   Looking ahead, TuSimple is scheduled to start testing its L4 truck platform in Arizona by the end of 2017.