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Self-driving truck company TuSimple raises $95 million in Series D funding

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TuSimple is developing a commercial-ready Level 4 (SAE) fully-autonomous driving solution for the logistics industry. TuSimple is the only self-driving truck company capable of driving from depot-to-depot without human intervention and does so every day for its customers. (Courtesy: TUSIMPLE)

SAN DIEGO — TuSimple, a global self-driving truck company, has raised $95 million in Series D funding based on a pre-money valuation of $1 billion.

The new capital investment will be used to fund TuSimple’s commercial ramp-up and product development.

With this round, TuSimple will continue to grow its commercial autonomous fleet, which makes daily fully-autonomous deliveries in Arizona, and soon in Texas, for large shippers and fleets, according to Dr. Xiaodi Hou, founder, president and chief technology officer.

The fleet allows the company to earn revenue while validating its SAE Level 4 fully-autonomous system, he said.

The company currently has 12 contracted customers and is making three to five delivery trips per day. It will use the funds to grow the fleet to over 50 trucks by June.

The investment will also be used to fund critical joint production programs with its OEM, Tier 1, and sensor partners in order to achieve full commercialization, Hou said. Suppliers essential to truck manufacturing are working with TuSimple on the integration of autonomous software with powertrain, braking and steering systems, an essential step for the commercial production and operation of self-driving trucks.

The $95 million financing was completed in December 2018.

This brings TuSimple’s total funding to date to $178 million. This latest round was led by Sina Corp., a technology company widely recognized for developing Weibo, a social media platforms. Composite Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm focused on consumer, technology and transportation companies globally also participated in this round.

“TuSimple consistently reaches their milestones on and ahead of schedule and we are confident that they are poised to bring the first commercial self-driving trucks to market,” said Colin Xie, vice general manager, investment department, Sina Corp. “We are focused on finding the global leaders in artificial intelligence and TuSimple is ahead of the pack. The combination of technical excellence and an impressive leadership team has propelled the company into unicorn status.”

“Autonomous driving is one of the most complex AI systems humans have ever built. After three years of intense focus to reach our technical goals, we have moved beyond research into the serious work of building a commercial solution,” Hou said. “We are thankful for the continued support of our investors and partners. This is not only a great sign of confidence in TuSimple, but also for the future of autonomous trucking.”

TuSimple’s Level 4 fully-autonomous semi-trucks are the only trucks capable of driving from depot-to-depot without human intervention, Hou said.

To support Level 4 driving on complex highway and local streets, the company has developed an innovative camera-centric perception solution that allows TuSimple’s trucks to see 1,000 meters ahead of the vehicle, Hou said, noting that the vision range is farther and delivers better visibility than any other autonomous driving system today.

This level of performance is essential for autonomous commercial trucks to operate safely at highway speeds — rain or shine, he said.

“TuSimple is aiming to transform the $800-billion U.S. trucking industry by increasing safety, lowering costs, reducing carbon emissions and providing tools to optimize fleet logistics for operators,” Hou said.

TuSimple is headquartered in San Diego and operates self-driving trucks out of Tucson, Arizona.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Andy Bud

    February 18, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    So it delivers LTL and last mile?

  2. The Queen of Trucks

    February 19, 2019 at 9:12 am

    “pre-evaluation” is a joke along with self driving trucks-

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OOIDA expresses concern about development of AV regulations

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it understood necessary changes must be made to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to accommodate automated vehicles, including training, licensing, and inspection standards, but that many of the proposals discussed within the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are hypothetical in nature. (Courtesy: TUSIMPLE)

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said in comments in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles that as autonomous technology develops OOIDA is concerned that federal regulators will put on blinders and push for more technology as the answer to the industry’s problems without considering the negative impacts of these technologies.

“Regardless of their potential, it is important to understand the implications that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have on public roadways,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said in comments sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez. “Despite the various claims that AVs will lead to zero deaths, there have been real-world situations in which automation has devastatingly failed. While AVs might improve safety under certain conditions, they create new risks with dangerous outcomes. Beyond ensuring that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) provide appropriate standards for the safe operation of AVs, FMCSA must consider unforeseen concerns and practices that might offset the potential safety, mobility, and sustainability benefits from the technology.”

Spencer wrote that while FMCSA and most experts acknowledge automated trucks are years away from reality, the agency’s proposal may signal that the Department of Transportation does not value the human driver as a necessary operator in the transportation industry.

“Given the fact that 3.9 million commercial drivers deliver 70 percent of all freight worth $11.7 trillion annually while collecting $700.1 billion in gross revenue, DOT must more fully consider the practical implications that eliminating the human driver from the FMCSRs might have on the economy.”

Spencer said OOIDA understood necessary changes must be made to the FMCSRs to accommodate AVs, including training, licensing, and inspection standards, but that many of the proposals discussed within the ANPRM are hypothetical in nature.

“In this sense, OOIDA questions why the agency has chosen to focus on regulations that may or may not be necessary depending how the technology performs,” Spencer wrote. “Most of the questions laid out in the ANPRM are based on assumptions, many of which are nothing more than marketing ploys from ADS developers, rather than actual safety performance. Currently, it is difficult to fully understand what role AVs will have on the trucking industry. Without more concrete data about how AVs will function and their impact on the industry, our feedback on the ANPRM is generally speculative. As the practical impacts of the technology evolve, so too will our recommendations.”

The ANPRM posed a series of questions that it asked respondents to answer.

OOIDA was pointed in answering the question “Do the FMCSRs Require a Human Driver?”

“OOIDA fundamentally disagrees with FMCSA’s interpretation that the FMCSRs should no longer assume that the CMV driver is always a human or that a human is present onboard a commercial vehicle during its operation, provided that the vehicle is equipped with a Level 4 or Level 5 ADS and is operating within its Operation Design Domain (ODD) (in the case of Level 4). While FMCSA and most experts acknowledge automated trucks are years away from reality, this proposal may signal that DOT does not value the human driver as a necessary operator in the transportation industry. Given the fact that 3.9 million commercial drivers deliver 70 percent of all freight worth $11.7 trillion annually while collecting $700.1 billion in gross revenue, DOT must more fully consider the practical implications that eliminating the human driver from the FMCSRs might have on the economy.”

Level 4 vehicles can intervene if things go wrong or there is a system failure. In this sense, they do not require human interaction in most circumstances. However, a human still has the option to manually override. Level 4 vehicles can operate in self-driving mode. But until legislation and infrastructure evolves, they can only do so within a limited area (usually an urban environment where top speeds reach an average of 30mph). This is known as geofencing. As such, most Level 4 vehicles in existence are geared toward ridesharing. For example:

Level 5 vehicles do not require human attention―the “dynamic driving task” is eliminated. Level 5 vehicles won’t even have steering wheels or acceleration/braking pedals. They will be free from geofencing, able to go anywhere and do anything that an experienced human driver can do.

 

 

 

 

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Chevron launches new customer-focused campaign ‘Engineered with Purpose’

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Launched in 1999, the Delo Truck was the first-of-its-kind, a mobile educational center bringing information to their customers. During the last 20 years, it has traveled nearly three-quarters of a million miles in the United States and Canada. (Courtesy: CHEVRON)

DALLAS  ––  Chevron Products Co., a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., maker of  technologically advanced engine oils, lubricants and coolants revealed at the Great American Trucking Show here its new customer-focused campaign “Engineered with Purpose,” re-affirming their commitment to moving their customer’s business forward through application of the most advanced technology.

As part of the reveal in Dallas at GATS, Chevron unveiled a new take on its mobile education center, the Delo Traveling Technology Lab, with interactive technologies, including virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality exhibits.

“Our new campaign is a recognition of our customers’ need for better education and solutions to drive their business forward,” said James Booth, commercial sector manager at Chevron. “The Delo Traveling Technology Lab is the latest step in our commitment to excellence for our customers; the type of commitment that has made Chevron Delo the No. 1 choice for fleets and on-highway OEM factory fill.”

A major milestone in Chevron strengthening its commitment to its customers is the expansion of their fully re-formulated Delo 400 product line re-engineered in 2016 to meet API CK-4 and FA-4 specs, Booth said, adding that Chevron continues to look to solve specific customer challenges in the ongoing development of Delo 400 product line with a goal to not only exceed API requirements, but solve customer issues not currently being addressed in the market.

Three years later, Booth said Delo is the No. 1 engine oil choice with small, medium and large fleets according to MacKay 2017 report. By the end of 2019, Delo will be the factory fill oil for 85% of North American OEMs.

Booth said Chevron had solidified its commitment to its customers, engineering products with purpose by building solutions that further their customers’ businesses through innovation and advanced technology.

Just this year, he said Chevron has launched a number of products including:

  • Greatest number of heavy-duty engine oil products with API SN PLUS – protecting both heavy duty vehicles and modern gasoline pick-up truck engines.
  • Delo 400 XSP-FA 5W-30 delivering “the best engine oil life and fuel efficiency in the Delo product line.”
  • Delo ELC Advanced Coolants solving recent issues with nitrited coolants and new aluminum radiators

As part of Chevron’s broader campaign, by year-end, it will be introducing a major breakthrough in oil technology engineered to solve after-treatment issues brought to light by its OEM partners and customers.

Launched in 1999, the Delo Truck was the first-of-its-kind, a mobile educational center bringing information to their customers. During the last 20 years, it has traveled nearly three-quarters of a million miles in the United States and Canada, visiting thousands of people in the process. The Delo Truck has had a direct impact on customer business, and development of their operations, and maintenance professionals.

Chevron has been a pioneer of using digital technology to help the trucking industry understand the latest trends and delivering business insights in a timely manner, Booth said.  Today’s launch of the travelling technology lab is a further leap in understanding and addressing customers’ needs.

Following 15 months of work with top agencies, Chevron’s Delo Traveling Technology Lab includes:

  • Eleven exhibits including state-of-the-art VR and AR equipment to allow customers an interactive experience to learn more about Chevron’s offerings from engine maintenance to proper lubrication practices

The Delo Traveling Technology Lab will be traveling throughout the United States and Canada, making scheduled stops at various trade shows and customer events in the coming years.

 

 

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DTNA delivers first Freightliner eCascadia models to Penske, NFI

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NFI and Penske Truck Leasing were the recipients of the first two Freightliner eCascadia models built by Daimler Trucks North America. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nine days after Daimler Trucks North America said it was getting ready to deliver to customers the first Freightliner aCascadia models, they said they had done it.

On August 12, the company reported in a news release that it had produced two eCascadias that were to be shipped soon.

On Wednesday, August 21, DTNA said the fete had been accomplished.

The customers were Penske Truck Leasing of Reading, Pennsylvania, and NFI of Camden, New Jersey, were the customers.

The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet and both customers will use their vehicles to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.

“Co-creation is the cornerstone of DTNA’s strategy to rapidly develop and deploy battery electric trucks. DTNA’s partnerships with customers like Penske and NFI provide valuable feedback for the final design of our trucks, as well as the design of the surrounding e-mobility ecosystem,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “DTNA’s holistic approach is vital to advancing viable transportation solutions from which society as a whole will benefit.”

Nielsen said the Freightliner Innovation Fleet is supported by a partnership between DTNA and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin and partially funded the Innovation Fleet with a nearly $16M grant. Freightliner eCascadias and medium-duty electric Freightliner eM2s from the Innovation Fleet are operated within the South Coast AQMD jurisdiction.

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project that will directly impact local Southern California communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s Executive Officer. “We hope to see large scale deployments of similar zero emission trucks that will have significant environmental and health benefits across the entire state.”

Penske and NFI are the first to deploy battery-electric commercial vehicles from Freightliner to their operations. Penske Truck Leasing will run eCascadias in daily delivery operations within California’s Inland Empire while NFI will employ eCascadias in drayage operations at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with Freightliner and be among the first companies putting the eCascadia to work,” said Brian Hard, president and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing. “Our first eCascadia will be used by our subsidiary Penske Logistics to make multiple, daily store deliveries on a dedicated route. Our in-house maintenance technicians are trained and well prepared, and our recent investments in charging infrastructure in the South Coast Air Basin will play an important role as we operate these cutting-edge vehicles on their delivery routes.”

“NFI’s partnership with Daimler is a testament to our commitment to social responsibility, supporting the California ports, and driving innovation within our industry,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “As the premier drayage provider in Southern California, we are excited to be one of first to deploy the eCascadia into our operations, accompanied by the installation of electric charging stations. We look forward to continuing to invest in new technology and equipment to operate more efficiently, and to do our part in creating cleaner communities.”

Nielsen said the Freightliner eCascadia is built on the proven foundation of the Cascadia, the best-selling Class 8 on the market and was first revealed in June 2018 along with the medium-duty eM2. The planned start of series production for both models is late 2021. In preparation for their introduction, Freightliner has established multiple avenues for co-creating with customers. Freightliner’s Electric Vehicle Council, a collective of 38 customer companies works to address the total e-mobility ecosystem. Freightliner’s Innovation Fleet provides customers with the opportunity to fully test the eM2 and the eCascadia in real world use. In total, Penske and NFI will receive 30 battery electric trucks.

The Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative, joining the company’s Thomas Built Buses all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus, the FUSO eCanter, and the Mercedes-Benz eActros and eCitaro. To date, there are more than 100 electrified trucks and buses from Daimler Trucks & Buses on the road globally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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