US Self-driving truck startup TuSimple and German based global automotive supplier ZF, have announced that they will work together on a commercial scale to develop and produce autonomous vehicle technology, including sensors,.
The TuSimnple/ZFpartnership, is set to begin in April and will cover China, Europe and North America.
The two companies say theywill co-develop sensors needed in autonomous vehicle technology such as cameras, lidar, radar and a central computer.
For its part ZF says it will contribute engineering support to validate and integrate TuSimple’s autonomous system into vehicles.
TuSimple was launched in 2015 and has operations in China, San Diego and Tucson.
The company has been working on a “full-stack solution,” an industry term, which means developing and bringing together all of the technological pieces required for autonomous driving.
TuSimple is developing Level 4 autonomous systems, which means the vehicle can control over all aspects of the driving in certain conditions.
TuSimple has managed to scale up its operations and attract investors even as other companies in the developing autonomous vehicle technology industry have faltered.
The company has raised nearly $US300 million to date from investors such as Sina, UPS and Tier 1 supplier Mando Corporation.
It already has trucks making about 20 autonomous trips between Arizona and Texas each week with a fleet of more than 40 autonomous trucks, all of which have a human safety operator behind the wheel.
The partnership is an important milestone for TuSimple as the startup prepares to bring autonomous-ready trucks to market, TuSimple chief product officer Chuck Price said in a statement.
The plan is for TuSimple to combine its self-driving software with ZF’s ability to build automotive grade products.
The partnership doesn’t remove every barrier for TuSimple. Moving from development to deployment takes millions of dollars of investment. If a company can move from testing to commercial deployment, it must still navigate daily operations efficiently in the aim of becoming profitable.