Chinese Startup TuSimple Just Raised $55 Million to Bring Self-Driving Trucks to the U.S.
TuSimple, a China-based autonomous truck technology startup that is backed by Nvidia (NVDA), has raised $55 million in a Series C funding round led by Composite Capital.
Existing investors Sina (SINA), operator of China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo, and ZP Capital also participated in the round. In August, the company announced $20 million in funding from investors that included Nvidia and Sina. The company is working on a “full-stack solution,” an industry term that means it’s developing and bringing together all of the technological pieces required for autonomous driving. TuSimple is developing a Level 4 system is a designation by the SAE that means the vehicle takes over all of the driving in certain conditions.
The autonomous trucking startup, which was founded in 2015, plans to use the new influx of capital to scale up its testing to two full truck fleets in China and the U.S. The eventual plan is to introduce commercial autonomous trucking services in 2019. The company will start truck fleet testing in 2018, beginning with two routes: 120-mile highway stretch between Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona and another segment in Shanghai.
The funds will be used to hire a production engineers in Tucson, Ariz., where the company is has established a test facility. TuSimple is scheduled to begin testing its Level 4 truck platform in Arizona by the end of 2017.
It will also put some funds towards its research centers in San Diego and Beijing.
The company, which is focused on line-haul trucking and transporting cargo between ports, plants, and warehouses, has already achieved a few autonomous trucking milestones in its short history. In July, TuSimple completed a 170-mile public road test from San Diego, California to Yuma, Arizona using its Level 4 system.
The company’s L4 autonomous truck started testing on public roads in China in September. TuSimple demonstrated in November its Level 4 self-driving system in Shanghai.