TuSimple, Navistar End Agreement to Co-Develop Autonomous Trucks

Navistar International truck with TuSimple technology at MCE 2022 A Navistar International truck with TuSimple technology on display at an industry trade show in October. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Self-driving truck technology company TuSimple Holdings Inc. and truck maker Navistar, the parent of the International brand, announced an end to their co-development of autonomous trucks under their initial 2020 joint development agreement.

Navistar and TuSimple did not provide a specific reason for the halt, but said the decision does not preclude the companies from working together in the future.

Prior to the JDA, the companies had a technical relationship for two years, said Navistar, which then took an undisclosed minority stake in TuSimple. Production was said to be targeted for 2024.



Shortly after that, parent company Traton announced a partnership with TuSimple to develop SAE Level 4 self-driving trucks, calling it a first in Europe. Traton also took a minority stake in TuSimple.

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Srini Gowda

 Srini Gowda (LinkedIn)

The latest statement made no mention of the status of Traton’s relationship with TuSimple.

“Navistar believes autonomous driving technologies will be a key component of a future transportation and logistics system, and is committed to the development of a safe and efficient autonomous driving solution,” Navistar Vice President Srini Gowda said.

TuSimple noted it has proved its technology works, and CEO Cheng Lu said, “I decided to return as TuSimple’s CEO to address the challenges ahead and to set us on a path to long-term stability. I’m committed to addressing the concerns of stakeholders.

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Cheng Lu

Lu 

“I firmly believe in this company and its ability to improve the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry through world-class autonomous driving technology.”

Lu returned after TuSimple terminated CEO Xiaodi Hou in connection with an audit committee investigation that led the board of directors to conclude that a change was necessary.

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly had launched an investigation into whether company executives improperly shared proprietary technology with a startup in China.

Hou denied any wrongdoing.

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