Self-driving truck start TuSimple works with the automotive supplier ZF to develop and manufacture autonomous vehicle technologies such as sensors on a commercial scale.
The partnership, which is scheduled to start in April, will cover China, Europe and North America. The two companies will jointly develop sensors that are required in autonomous vehicle technology, such as cameras, lidar, radar and a central computer. As part of the partnership, ZF will provide technical support for the validation and integration of the autonomous TuSimple system into the vehicle.
TuSimple was launched in 2015 and has offices in China, San Diego and Tucson, Arizona. The company has been working on a “full stack solution”, an industry term that means the development and integration of all the technological components required for autonomous driving. TuSimple develops a Level 4 system, a designation of the SAE, which means that the vehicle takes over the entire driving under certain conditions.
TuSimple has managed to grow its business and attract investors, even though other companies in the emerging autonomous automotive technology industry have stalled. The company has raised nearly $ 300 million from investors such as Sina, UPS, and Tier 1 supplier Mando Corporation. There are currently about 20 autonomous trips between Arizona and Texas per week with a fleet of more than 40 autonomous trucks. All trucks have a safety officer at the wheel.
The partnership is an important milestone for TuSimple as the startup is preparing to launch autonomous trucks, TuSimple's chief product officer Chuck Price said in a statement. TuSimple is expected to combine its self-driving software with ZF's ability to manufacture products for the automotive industry.
The partnership does not remove all obstacles for TuSimple. The transition from development to deployment requires investment in the millions. If a company can move from testing to commercial use, it still has to navigate efficiently in daily operations to become profitable.