Follow the money, the old saying goes. And if the money is indication, a lot of investors are rushing to get in on autonomous technology’s ground floor. The latest evidence? Autonomous trucking technology developer TuSimple has raised a whopping $95 million in Series D funding investments, fueling the company’s quest to develop the world’s first fully driverless truck fleet.
Business Insider notes the latest round of funding gives TuSimple “unicorn” status in investment circles – a term reserved for privately held start-up companies that secure over $1 billion in funding, reflecting the statistical rarity of such ventures.
The Chinese company Sina Corp. led the latest funding drive for TuSimple, Business Week reported.
According to reports, the additional funding will go towards TuSimple's previously stated goal of having more than 50 autonomous trucks actively running routes by June.
"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," Colin Xie, vice general manager of investments at Sina Corp., said in statement to the media.
Currently, TuSimple, which is headquartered in both San Diego and Beijing, has staked out an operational footprint in Arizona, but intends to expand its autonomous truck operations into Texas later this year. The company is now running three to five commercial trucks on real-world cargo runs for paying customers. Each truck has both a TuSimple systems engineer and a driver on board at all times.