- Autonomous trucking company TuSimple announced it just received Series C funding for $55 million, according to company press release. Backers include Composite Capital, Sina and ZP Capital.
- In November, the company achieved an SAE Level 4 test in China, a demonstration run entirely by the system's innovative localization technology. No humans intervened in the process.
- With this most recent influx of funds, TuSimple will begin scale testing two full truck fleets in China and the U.S., expanding its operational presence in both regions.
The debate over regulation continues while autonomous trucks achieve consistent improvements.
While some experts view self-driving trucks as an industry opportunity, given the ongoing shortage of qualified drivers, both the American Trucking Associations and the American Transportation Research Institute believe that the technology requires clearer jurisdiction than it has thus far received. Even Michael Ducker, chief of FedEx Freight, believes regulation will need to precede cultural acceptance of the technology.
The Senate's AV START Act, which replaced the House's SELF DRIVE Act, will not include provisions for autonomous trucks, citing a need for more discussion on the technology's impact on the industry. The AV START Act does permit manufacturers to test autonomous trucks, but manufacturers are also required to submit a plan detailing their intent to prevent cyber-attacks on technology-run vehicles.
Ultimately, even these federal compromises add up to numerous hurdles ahead. The technology may be almost ready, but the legalities have yet to catch up, and that checks TuSimple's progress.