TuSimple, a U.S.-based startup developing self-driving trucking technology for the fleet and long-haul trucking sector, has announced a top-up of its oversubscribed funding round.
Investors placed an additional $120 million with the company, Reuters said Tuesday (Sept. 17), with backers coming from China's CDH Investments, Hong Kong's Lavender Hill Capital and Korea's Mando Corp. TuSimple said the round has now reached $215 million, with a total of $389 million raised by the company so far.
Previous investors in this most recent round included UPS Ventures, reports noted, adding that TuSimple is currently collaborating with UPS to test its technology on business highway stretches of more than 100 miles for UPS supply chain operations.
The company will deploy the funding to further its focus on developing autonomous commercial vehicles in collaboration with truck makers and auto suppliers.
“Our goal is still to have a factory-produced [self-driving] truck by the 2023 time frame,” TuSimple Chief Financial Officer Cheng Lu said in an interview with Reuters.
TuSimple is currently operating self-driving vehicles by retrofitting the trucks of 18 freight customers. Until the company is able to launch its proprietary vehicles on the road, TuSimple said, it will also look to expand that endeavor.
According to the report, TuSimple is differentiating itself from other autonomous vehicle projects like those of Uber and General Motors, the latter two of which have “stumbled because it is difficult and costly to develop self-driving cars capable of anticipating and responding to humans in urban areas while picking up and dropping off passengers at random locations, at random times.”
While the fleet and logistics spaces are exploring autonomous vehicles, the fleet payments sector is also increasingly watching the smart vehicle and connected vehicles space, exploring how such vehicles could not only automate transport and delivery of goods, but act as the payment mechanism for a range of transactions including refueling and repairs.