With human safety drivers behind the wheel, TuSimple's trucks are
already on public roads in Arizona making deliveries. The company has 12
contracted customers and is making three to five delivery trips per day
from an operations center in Tucson. It says it will use the new
funding to expand its fleet to more than 50 trucks by June and commence
testing in Texas. It also has operations in China.
The company, based in Beijing with a U.S. headquarters in San Diego, Calif., is in a brewing competition with others in the nascent
self-driving truck field to upend a trucking industry worth an estimated
$800 billion per year to the U.S. economy. Experts widely see trucking
as a first application of autonomous technology, both for technical and
Competitors include the likes of Waymo, which runs self-driving truck
testing from a hub in Atlanta; Embark, which CNBC reported last month
is hauling goods for Amazon; and startups such as Starsky Robotics and
Ike, the latter of which was co-founded by former employees of Uber's
shuttered self-driving truck program.
While TuSimple incorporates cameras, radar and lidar into its sensing
technology, its executives say they've made advances with camera
technology that allow their trucks to detect objects as far away as
1,000 meters. At that distance, their systems still have time to plan
the path ahead safely at highway speeds.