Autonomous retrofitter TuSimple lands another $95M in investment cash

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TuSimple’s autonomous system is a retrofit system designed to add autonomous capabilities to already existing trucks.TuSimple’s autonomous system is a retrofit system designed to add autonomous capabilities to already existing trucks.

TuSimple, a San Diego-based start-up who’s developing an autonomous retrofit system, announced Wednesday it has received another round of investment funding, this time a $95 million boost from Sina Corp, a tech company that developed social media platform Weibo, and Hong Kong-based investor Composite Capital.

The company says it plans to use the money to grow its fleet of test units, which operate as Level 4 autonomous vehicles and are being used in test runs in partnerships with certain fleets and shippers in Arizona. The company says the latest round of cash will help it expand its testing into Texas. The company says it plans to have 50 trucks deployed in testing by June.

Specifically, the money will help flesh out its partnership program with OEMs and sensor providers, the company says. This includes work to integrate TuSimple’s autonomous software with powertrain, braking and steering systems.

Level 4 automation requires little to no human input to operate, with the autonomous system handling the bulk of the driving duties. TuSimple says its Level 4 system is “capable of driving from depot to depot without human intervention.”

TuSimple has developed a “camera-centric perception” system that allows its system to see 1,000 meters (over half a mile) in front of the truck. Its system is a retrofit system designed to add autonomous capabilities to already existing trucks.

The company said it received a valuation of $1 billion as part of this Series D round of funding. To date, it has received $178 million in financing.