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Navistar, TuSimple Aim to Launch Self-Driving Trucks in 2024

Partnership includes equity investment
#Amazon #Sony #Navistar

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When it comes to autonomous vehicle systems, TuSimple is in it for the long haul.

Literally. The 5-year-old California startup is taking the lead—it already has the largest test fleet (40 trucks)—among the growing number of companies targeting self-driving big rigs.

During the development process, TuSimple has formed partnerships with several top suppliers and trucking experts. Now it has landed a deal with a major OEM with commercialization plans looming.

Big Partner

Today TuSimple and Navistar announced they’re expanding their 2-year-old development relationship.

The goal is to introduce a Level 4-capable truck that can operate without human input. They aim to have the truck in production within four years.

Navistar, which sells about 35,000 Class 8 trucks per year in the U.S. and Canada, will produce the vehicles. TuSimple will supply the technology.

Financial Backing

As part of the deal, Navistar has acquired an unspecified minority stake in the tech startup. Financial details weren’t disclosed.

To date, TuSimple has raised about $300 million from investors such as UPS, Nvidia and Chinese tech firm Sina. It recently opened a new investment round that is expected to add $250 million.

The company also has partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Sony and ZF. Penske, McLane, Navistar, UPS and the U.S. Postal Office. It has been testing vehicles in conjunction Penske, McLane, UPS and the U.S. Postal Office on routes from Arizona to Texas for more than a year.

What’s Next?

Navistar will work with TuSimple to refine the self-driving technology, add redundant safety systems and upgrade the supporting electrical architecture over the next few years.

This will be followed by more testing and validation before commercialization.

TuSimple also continues to work on its own. The company aims to demonstrate a driverless system by year-end.