TuSimple, a self-driving truck startup running daily routes for customers in Arizona, has raised $95 million in a Series D funding round led by Sina Corp. The company achieved unicorn status with a valuation now reaching $1 billion.
With the new round of capital, the startup will further improve the commercialization and technology development of autonomous driving.
“Unmanned driving is one of the most challenging sciences and technology topics in the world. Through three years of close collaboration in research and development, we have taken a leap to the complete establishment of a commercial solution,” said TuSimple co-founder and CTO Hou Xiaodi.
The Series D round closed at the end of 2018, led by Chinese tech firm Sina Corp., operator of China’s largest micro-blogging site Weibo. It included investment from Hong Kong-based Composite Capital, which boosted TuSimple’s total funding to about $180 million. Sina also invested in earlier rounds, as did U.K.-based ZP Capital and Nvidia.
After this round, TuSimple will continue expanding the scale of unmanned commercial operations in China and the U.S. The company plans to open a new transportation line from Arizona to Texas in the first quarter of 2019 to meet customers’ shipping needs. It is also developing technology to allow shipping companies to operate self-driving class 8 tractor-trailers so as to eliminate the need for drivers, which currently is trucking firms’ biggest expense. TuSimple believes it could cut down the cost by 30 percent.
“I am very grateful to all investors and partners for their continued support. This is not only great trust in TuSimple’s future, but also in the future of the entire driverless industry,” Hou said.
Featured photo credit to TuSimple.com