TuSimple Fixes Autonomous Truck Crash During First Quarter Profit

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Autonomous trucking company TuSimple used its second-quarter earnings report for an April accident in which one of the company’s autonomous trucks swerved off I-10 in Tuscon and crashed into a concrete barricade.

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The accident first became known through YouTube video it showed footage of the crash along with a May 26 letter from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMCSA) advising TuSimple of a “safety compliance investigation”. The accident was later reported Wall Street Magazine.

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“An error occurred when the test driver and safety engineer tried to re-enter autonomous driving mode before the system computer was configured to do so, and the truck swerved after hitting a road barrier,” said Xiaodi Hou, co-founder and CEO TuSimple. , during Tuesday’s earnings announcement. “No one was hurt. And the only evidence of an accident are a few scratches and minor damage to our truck.”

Howe noted that TuSimple has amassed 8.1 million road test miles over the past seven years with “exactly one incident.” When the incident took place on April 6, TuSimple shut down the entire fleet and launched an independent investigation, Howe said. After identifying the cause of the error, the company upgraded all of its systems by changing the human-machine interface to make sure that such a problem would not happen again, the executive continued.

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This internal report, which was reviewed by the WSJ, showed that the truck swerved to the left due to an outdated command that was 2.5 minutes old and should have been removed from the system, but it didn’t.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University told the WSJ that general safety measures, if in place, would have prevented the accident. For example, a truck should not respond to a command that is even a couple of hundredths of a second old, not to mention that it is more than two minutes old. The system also shouldn’t be able to turn so sharply when driving at 65 mph, and the safety driver shouldn’t be able to engage a self-driving system that doesn’t work properly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has since joined the FMCSA’s investigation into the TuSimple Highway accident.

Howe said the two agencies have not yet found any anomalies in their investigation and have not given TuSimple any security advice, but the investigation is not yet complete.

During the earnings call, TuSimple reiterated its plans to commercialize drive-out operations where there is no safety operator present in the vehicle. Company first completed a driver exit demonstration at an 80-mile stretch in Arizona in December.and has since made several more launches.

TuSimple says the crash won’t affect its launch plans removal of drivers for the Union Pacific Railroad, but it’s unclear if the company is on track at this time. TuSimple was due to launch a fully autonomous freight service for Union Pacific this spring and reach commercial viability by the end of 2023, but Howe said the company was facing a complete road closure in front of a distribution center at its destination. which delayed the launch “by a couple of weeks”. He also reiterated that the company’s deadline to move to Texas is set for 2023, but did not specify whether those would be initial test launches or fully commercial operations. TuSimple did not respond to requests for clarification in a timely manner.

TuSimple Financial Results for the Second Quarter

TuSimple’s total Q2 revenue was $2.6 million, up 73% year-over-year and 13% year-over-year. Wall Street Analysts Anticipate TuSimple’s Earnings get $4.06 million; moreover, they expected the company to beat those estimates.

The company attributed its growth to increased utilization of existing assets and higher prices compared to last year.

TuSimple’s net loss was $108.6 million, up from $116.5 million in the same quarter last year. The company appears to have slashed total operating expenses, which were $107.5 million this quarter from $119.4 million last year. However, R&D spending rose 13% year-over-year to $85.5 million. TuSimple said that the largest portion of R&D spending was $60.8 million related to hiring, including $22.4 million in share-based compensation expenses. However, sales, general and administrative expenses were significantly lower than last year.

To prepare for field operations and expand its autonomous trucking network, TuSimple has invested a total of $3.8 million in property and equipment. The company ended the quarter with $1.16 billion in cash.

Updated annual forecast

TuSimple’s updated 2022 revenue guidance remained unchanged at $9 million to $11 million. Overall, the company intends to spend less and therefore lose less this year. TuSimple’s adjusted EBITDA loss for the year is expected to be between $360 million and $380 million, compared to its previous forecast of $400 million to $420 million.

In addition, TuSimple will spend less on equity compensation due to the slowdown in hiring, as well as property and equipment purchases. The company is looking to end the year with $950 million in cash, up from a previous forecast of $900 million.

Executive Shakes

Howe touched on some of the key leadership changes announced in June, including the chief financial officer. Patrick Dillon leaves the companywho will be temporarily replaced by Eric Tapia, TuSimple’s global controller and chief accountant.

In addition, Dr. Ersin Yumer, formerly head of TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network, was promoted to EVP of Operations and Dr. Lei Wang to EVP of Technology. Both were promoted to support TuSimple’s driver removal operations.

It is worth noting

It’s worth noting that TuSimple will not be answering a question about the company’s tentative plans to divest its operations in China, which was raised during the Q1 earnings announcement.

At that time, TuSimple told TechCrunch that the company’s share price today does not reflect the cost of autonomous trucking in China, so it would be a good idea to separate operations in the Asia-Pacific region. A study of the company’s 10-Q found TuSimple likely wants to sell its operations in China because it’s too expensive given the National Security Agreement the company agreed to as part of a review by the Foreign Investment Committee. United States.

Tapia, TuSimple’s acting CFO, also shared that the company is in the process of upgrading most of its older trucks to the latest AV equipment technology, a process that will continue until 2023 and will include upgraded sensors on vehicles.

“While we plan to introduce a few new trucks to the fleet, our ability to add a significant number of trucks is difficult given the challenges of buying new or even slightly used trucks,” Tapia said. “Finally, we plan to continue investing in adding terminals to [autonomous freight network], primarily around the Texas Triangle. We intend to do this at minimal cost, collaborating where possible.”

In 2020 TuSimple became a partner of Navistar to create fully autonomous trucks, and previously set a deadline start production by 2024 and deliver to certain customers, like DHLby 2025. Howe and Tapia evaded repeated attempts by one analyst to clarify this timeline.

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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