Sign Up for the Newsletter
The most up-to-date news and insights into the latest emerging technologies ... delivered right to your inbox!
December 7, 2023
A bad 2023 for self-driving truck company TuSimple has reached a predictable conclusion with confirmation that it is pulling out of the United States.
The news came via a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which stated the intent of the publicly traded company to put in place a new restructuring plan that will reduce its US workforce by approximately 150 employees, or 75%. This would leave TuSimple with around 700 full-time employees globally.
According to the filing: “The remaining U.S. workforce will focus on winding down the company’s U.S. operations, including through sales of U.S. assets, and assisting with the company’s strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific region.”
TuSimple says it expects to incur one-time charges of between $7 million and $8 million in delivering the plan, consisting of employee severance payments, the fulfillment of benefits and more. The plan should be executed by the end of the fiscal year 2024.
The company’s fall from prominence has been dramatic.
Founded in September 2015, with headquarters in San Diego, California, it quickly established itself as one of the front-runners on the autonomous truck landscape, developing full-stack onboard software that delivered autonomous solutions ranging from Level 2+ to Level 4, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
By August 2017, it had started testing its TuSimple Autonomous Driving System between Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona.
After commencing hub-to-hub autonomous hauling in Tucson in 2018, the upward trajectory was underlined by a deal announced in July 2020 to co-develop Level 4 autonomous trucks with Navistar and ZF.
But after filing for an IPO in July 2021, TuSimple’s share price fell dramatically, and a lengthy bout of internal division then gripped the company, which also had to endure intense scrutiny from the US authorities over its Chinese funding, as well as the threat of delisting from Nasdaq.
This culminated in the plug being pulled on the deal with Navistar in December of last year, followed swiftly by a significant number of layoffs.
A second restructuring was to follow in May, with a further 300 employees losing their jobs. Explaining the decision at the time, CEO Cheng Lu said: “We have taken a variety of factors into consideration including further deterioration of global economic growth, significantly reduced capital availability in the self-driving industry and redundant hardware availability.”
By July, TuSimple’s direction of travel was clear, with the company admitting it was “evaluating strategic alternatives for its U.S. business” – among these a potential sale – and primarily focusing on operations in Japan and China, where it has accelerated testing.
The latest development concludes a far-from-vintage year for autonomous truck companies. TuSimple’s U.S. exit follows the demise of Embark, which was acquired by California-based Applied Intuition, after laying off around 70% of its staff in March.
Like what you've read? For more stories like this on self-driving cars and other emerging technologies, sign up for our free daily email newsletter to stay updated!
You May Also Like