San Diego- and Beijing-headquartered autonomous truck driving solution provider TuSimple announced on its WeChat public account that it has closed its US$95 million Series D round.
Sina, NVIDIA, ZP Capital and Compound Capital were among the investors of this round, which catapulted the three-year-old startup to the unicorn status with a US$1 billion valuation.
Sina Capital, the investment arm under Chinese portal site Sina, said that it believed TuSimple would be the first company to see commercial application of autonomous truck driving.
Since August last year, in Arizona, the United States, TuSimple has started to deliver goods to 13 clients using its autonomous trucks, three to five times a day, with each truck generates several thousands of dollars proceeds per week.
Although the company aspires to have “a level 4 autonomous truck driving solution”, currently inside each truck, there is an employee in charge of safety and another employee on testing.
The company now boasts a fleet of 30 such trucks in the United States and China, according to Chen Ou, CEO and founder of TuSimple.
He added that due to heavy spendings on R&D, the company has yet to make a profit.
In addition to providing transportation on expressways, TuSimple has been running its autonomous trucks on a trial basis on some Chinese ports including one in Shanghai.
With the proceeds from this financing, the company plans to expand its fleet to 50 trucks by June this year and to open a transportation line between Arizona and Texas.
It also plans to enhance cooperation with automobile OEMs, first-class suppliers and sensor producers to speed up commercialization of its technological solutions.
Editor: Ben Jiang