Main menu


TuSimple Sees No Change in Business Model Following Safety Study

featured image

TuSimple co-founder and CEO Xiaodi Hou on Tuesday responded to concerns of financial analysts that safety investigations could have repercussions following the April 6 driverless truck crash.

“This was an incident with a fixable flaw rather than a material change to our business model,” Hou argued in the company’s second-quarter analyst call. “As CEO of TuSimple, I am responsible for that.”

The accident and the resulting potential safety jeopardy of self-driving trucks was detailed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. The WSJ noted that the accident, which was made public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June, is under investigation by NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Hou said the accident occurred because the test driver and safety engineer “attempted to return to autonomous driving mode before the system’s computers were ready.” This forced the truck to turn and hit an obstacle on the highway, Hou said. “There were no injuries and the only evidence of the accident was some scratches and some minor damage to the truck.”

After the accident, San Diego-based TuSimple (NASDAQ: TSP) grounded all of its vehicles and launched an independent investigation, according to Hou. Despite claims in some journal articles that the company’s technology was to blame, Hou claimed it was caused by human error.

“Neither FMCSA nor NHTSA are asking for changes. As part of our own review process, we have upgraded all of our systems to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,” Hou said.

The accident and ongoing investigations will not affect the timeline for commercializing the “driver-out” technology, which was announced at the company’s first-quarter analyst call in May, Hou said. The company says its path to commercialization by the end of 2023 includes:

  • Open day and night.
  • Additional driver out routes including Texas.
  • Removal of support vehicles.
  • Carry customer cargo in a driverless drive.
  • Significantly lower cost per mile and clear prospects for cost parity with human-driven trucks.

The company said on Tuesday, “We are gearing up for Operation Driver Out and will continue this in a prudent manner as we aim to balance achieving technology milestones with prudent spending. has been reflected in the updated guidance.”

Updated guidance for the full year 2022 includes ending cash of approximately $950 million at December 31, compared with previous guidance of approximately $900 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of approximately $300 million. $60 million to $380 million, compared to previous guidance of $400 million to $420 million.

TuSimple Q2 Highlights

Quarterly highlights include:

  • Total revenue was $2.6 million, up 73% year-over-year and up 13% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Operating loss of $110.7 million and adjusted EBITDA of $82.7 million.
  • Cash balances at the end of the quarter were approximately $1.16 billion, down $81 million from the first quarter.
  • Mileage increased 13% to 8.1 million miles from 7.2 million miles in the first quarter.
  • Partnership with European logistics company Hegelmann Group. This includes the initial booking of a dedicated Level 4 (highly automated) truck for operations in North America.
  • Ten additional bookings have been made for purpose-built self-driving trucks, bringing the total to 7,485 bookings as of June 30.

TuSimple also announced that recent UPS lobbyist Thomas Jensen will lead the company’s government affairs group to step up its federal and state advocacy efforts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

FREIGHTWAVES’ top 500 hire carrier list includes UPS (No. 2).