The future of self-driving truck company TuSimple in the US looks limited, as it announced it will be reducing its workforce to about 30 people while it searches for a potential buyer.
The decline of TuSimple in the US saw the San Diego-based company go from market leader in autonomous long-haul trucking to searching for a new buyer – after safety concerns and government trepidation over dealing with a Chinese startup. These safety concerns around self-driving vehicles have been echoed this week as well, via a Tesla whistleblower.
TuSimple is now moving its business to China. According to a company statement on Monday, it has reduced its US staff by 75% – cutting its global workforce to half of what it was in 2022. It also informed investors that it expects to generate no significant revenue. TuSimple is currently valued at $229 million, despite entering the US exchange with a $8.5 billion valuation.
TuSimple and US concerns over China ties
TuSimple and the US government got off to a rocky start before the company even went public, as a regulatory probe was launched into the company due to a Chinese investor who held two board seats and a large stake in the company.
As the US views autonomous driving technology as a key asset to national security and military operations, an agreement was struck between the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius) and TuSimple to avoid sharing any critical data and technology with its China base.
The Wall Street Journal also reported, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Cfius launched an investigation into TuSimple over illicit financing and transferred technology to a Chinese trucking startup.
The startup in question was Hydron – founded by TuSimple co-founder Mo Chen – who was seeking to build hydrogen-powered semi-trucks powered by TuSimple self-driving technology.
Featured image: Xuejc1988 at Chinese Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons