TuSimple tackles autonomous truck crashes during Q2 earnings call – TechCrunch

Autonomous trucking company TuSimple used its second-quarter earnings call to address an April incident in which one of its autonomous trucks swerved through the I-10 highway in Tuscon and crashed into a concrete barricade .

Crash first passed Youtube video This shows footage of the crash and a May 26 letter from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) alerting TuSimple to a “safety compliance investigation.”The accident was later reported Wall Street Journal.

“The error occurred when the test driver and safety engineer attempted to re-enter autonomous driving mode before the system computer was ready, and the truck swerved abruptly, making contact with the highway guardrail,” said Hou Xiaodi, TuSimple co-founder and CEO, on Tuesday. on the earnings conference call. “Everyone is safe and sound. The only evidence of the accident is a few scrapes and some minor damage to our truck.”

Hou noted that over the past seven years, Tucson has accumulated 8.1 million miles of road testing with “exactly one accident.” When the incident happened on April 6, TuSimple grounded its entire fleet and opened an independent investigation, Hou said. After determining the cause of the error, the company then upgraded all systems and overhauled its human-machine interface to ensure the same problem never occurred again, the executive continued.

The internal report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal showed the truck’s sudden left turn was due to an outdated order that was 2.5 minutes out of date and should have been removed from the system, but didn’t.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers told the Wall Street Journal that the crash could have been prevented if there were common safeguards. For example, a truck shouldn’t respond to commands that are even a few hundredths of a second, let alone more than two minutes. Nor should the system be making such sharp turns at 65 miles per hour, nor should safety drivers be able to use a non-functioning autopilot system.

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

Hou said investigations by the two agencies have not uncovered any anomalies or made any security recommendations to TuSimple, but the investigations have not yet been completed.

On the earnings call, TuSimple reiterated plans to commercialize a driverless business without a human safety operator in the vehicle. The company completed its first 80-mile drive demonstration in Arizona in December, and has completed several more test runs since then.

TuSimple says crash won’t affect its plans to start Union Pacific Railroad’s delivery service, But it is unclear whether the company is proceeding as planned.Tucson It was originally planned to launch fully automated freight for Union Pacific this spring and reach commercial viability by the end of 2023, but Hou said the company encountered a completely closed road in front of the destination’s distribution center, which delayed the operation “by a few days.” week”. He also reiterated that the company’s test-drive deadline in Texas is set for 2023, but didn’t specify whether these were preliminary test runs or full commercial operations. TuSimple did not respond to a request for clarification in a timely manner.

TuSimple Q2 Financials

TuSimple’s total revenue for the second quarter was $2.6 million, up 73% year over year and 13% sequentially. Wall Street analysts expect TuSimple’s revenue Entered at $4.06 million; furthermore, they expect the company to beat those expectations.

The company attributed its growth to increased utilization of existing assets and year-over-year price increases.

TuSimple’s net loss was $108.6 million, compared with $116.5 million a year earlier. The company appears to have cut total operating expenses, which were $107.5 million in the quarter compared to $119.4 million last year. However, R&D spending rose 13% year over year to $85.5 million. The largest portion of R&D expenses was $60.8 million related to hiring, including $22.4 million in stock-based compensation, TuSimple said. That said, selling, general and administrative expenses were significantly lower than last year.

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

Updated full year guidance

TuSimple’s latest guidance for 2022 revenue remained unchanged at $9 million to $11 million. In general, the company intends to reduce expenses and therefore lose less this year. TuSimple’s adjusted EBITDA loss for the year is now expected to be in the range of $360 million to $380 million, compared with previous guidance of $400 million to $420 million.

In addition, TuSimple will spend less on stock-based compensation and purchases of property and equipment as hiring slows. The company hopes to end the year with $950 million in cash, compared with previous guidance of $900 million.

Administrative reorganization

Hou talked about some of the key leadership changes announced in June, including the chief financial officer Patrick Dillon leaves companywill be temporarily replaced by Eric Tapia, TuSimple’s global controller and chief accounting officer.

In addition, Dr. Ersin Yumer, head of the Tucson Future Autonomous Freight Network, was promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations, and Dr. Wang Lei was promoted to Executive Vice President of Technology. Both were promoted to support TuSimple’s driver business.


Notably, TuSimple won’t answer questions about the company’s tentative plans to sell its China business, which was mentioned on the first-quarter earnings call.

then, TuSimple tells TechCrunch The company’s share price today doesn’t reflect the value of China’s autonomous freight business, so it would be a good idea to break up the Asia-Pacific business. A careful reading of the company’s 10-Q report shows that TuSimple is more likely to want to sell its business in China because it would be too costly to maintain it, as the company agreed to a national security deal as part of a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Tapia, TuSimple’s interim chief financial officer, also said the company is upgrading most of its older trucks to the latest AV hardware technology, a process that will continue through 2023 and will involve adding upgraded sensors to the vehicle.

“While we plan to introduce some new trucks into the fleet, our ability to add a large number of trucks is difficult given the challenges of purchasing new or even slightly older trucks,” Tapia said. “Finally, we plan to continue investing in increasing the terminal to [autonomous freight network], mainly around the Texas Triangle. Our intention is to do this in a capital-light manner and collaborate where possible. ”

In 2020, TuSimple partners with Navistar Build fully autonomous trucks and have previously set deadlines Start manufacturing by 2024 and delivered to certain customers, like DHL, by 2025. Hou and Tapia sidestepped repeated attempts by one analyst to figure out that timeline.

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