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An autonomous trucking company, called TuSimple, announced it has raised $55 million in a Series C round.
TuSimple made news in 2016 when artificial intelligence computing giant Nvidia invested in its $20 million B round. So far, the two-year-old company's funding is over $83 million.
TuSimple makes full-stack automation solutions for self-driving vehicles that bring together perception, mapping, and motion planning with control and actuation to make big rigs mostly autonomous.
Unlike many self-driving technology companies, which rely on LiDAR, TuSimple uses camera arrays, as well as millimeter wave radar, which it claims are both cheaper and resolve at higher distances. Radar arrays are more prone to false positives, and weather can inhibit the function of cameras. In TuSimple's solution, cameras mitigate the issues of false positives caused by radar and radar mitigates the impact of weather on cameras.
The company successfully demonstrated its SAE Level 4 self-driving system in Shanghai, China, and its ramping up efforts in the US. The company successfully demonstrated a Level 4 test-drive from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.
The SAE ranks autonomous driving levels zero to five, with five being fully autonomous. TuSimple's L4 system is fully autonomous on the highway, near the highway, and in enclosed environments. It is not intended to be operated in metropolitan areas.
"Human error and driver fatigue account for a large portion of truck accidents. TuSimple is proud that our research and development efforts can help bring innovation to the trucking market and make the roads safer for everyone." said Mo Chen, CEO of TuSimple.
The company plans to use the money to scale testing in China and the US. The company's L4 autonomous truck started testing on public roads in China in September 2017 and has already accumulated over fifteen thousand autonomous miles. TuSimple is scheduled to begin testing its L4 truck platform in Arizona by the end of the year.
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