Self-driving tractor-trailer start-up TuSimple achieves unicorn status in funding round that values it at $1 billion – CNBC

What happened: Self-driving truck startup TuSimple, founded in 2015 with headquarters in the US and China, has reached unicorn status following its $95 million Series D. The funding round was led by Chinese tech giant Sina and Hong Kong-based investment firm Composite Capital. The money will help the company expand its fleet of test vehicles and fund joint production programs with truck manufacturers.

Why it’s important: As autonomous driving systems develop, self-driving cars have received most of the attention. However, the logistics industry could see drastic improvements in efficiency should companies adopt self-driving trucks, especially given the size of China’s e-commerce market. TuSimple has been testing its trucks in Arizona, making three to five autonomous trips per day. Late last year, the company was given permission to test its trucks on public roads in Shanghai. It has partnered with Shaanxi Automotive and Sinotruck, and is seeking to commercialize its technology by 2020.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.