Even autonomous trucks need to be able to call for roadside service. TuSimple Holdings Inc. yesterday announced an advanced integration with Werner Enterprises Inc. to provide roadside service and support to customers operating in “driver-out” mode on the TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network.
“TuSimple created a SAE Level 4 self-driving truck that is capable of seeing, processing, and reacting faster than a human driver,” stated Jim Mullen, chief administrative and legal officer at TuSimple. “Uncompromised safety and unparalleled service are prerequisites for driver-out operations along the TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network. Our service alignment with Werner Enterprises assures our fleet partners of expedited, safe, and efficient service and support.”
Founded in 2015, TuSimple has developed autonomous driving systems for long-haul, heavy-duty trucks. The San Diego-based company said it aims to transform the $4 trillion global truck freight industry with its artificial intelligence technology, which makes it possible for trucks to drive safely autonomously on public roads, operate nearly continuously, and reduce fuel consumption by more than 10% in comparison with manually driven trucks. The company has operations in Arizona, Texas, Europe, and China.
Werner network to support TuSimple AFN
The integration pairs Werner Enterprises' roadside service network with the TuSimple Oversight system on the TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network (AFN). That transportation network allows freight to be moved from point to point safely and reliably with autonomous trucks.
The AFN is operational from Arizona to Florida, with over 11,200 mapped miles. TuSimple plans to expand it include major logistic routes in its next phase of development. The integration is part of the TuSimple Connect platform.
TuSimple cited the integration as further evidence of its mission to ensure that every carrier operating on the TuSimple AFN has the best options for its fleet to receive immediate assistance in the event that vehicles require expedited service. Carriers will have their choice of service providers, including their preferred dealerships, aftermarket service providers, or Werner Enterprises-authorized service centers.
Werner Enterprises' 24/7 network will provide nationwide support to all TuSimple vehicles in operation alongside the AFN. TuSimple said it is committed to supporting its customers as they adopt, integrate, and scale autonomous vehicles in their fleets.
“The strategic relationship with Werner Enterprises encompasses an important next stage in the development of the AFN and TuSimple driver-out commercialization,” added the company. Specifically, TuSimple will use Werner Enterprises' services to support commercialization in the Texas Triangle in events that require immediate roadside service or maintenance.
“Werner Enterprises delivers world-class supply chain solutions predicated on transporting our customers' freight in a timely, responsible and safe manner,” said Derek Leathers, CEO of Werner Enterprises. “TuSimple is advancing the industry and redefining the way freight moves along the TuSimple autonomous freight network. Our alliance will enable TuSimple customers to receive benchmark service and support in the event of a service issue.”
Werner Enterprises serves customers across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. With 2021 revenues of $2.7 billion, more than 13,500 associates, and its Werner EDGE technology, the company said it supports customers that value the integrity of their supply chains and require safe and on-time service. Werner provides dedicated and one-way truckload services, as well as truckload brokerage, freight management, intermodal, and final-mile services.
TuSimple announces Q1 achievements
TuSimple also released its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2022, ended March 31. The company noted that it has continued refining its “Minimum Risk Condition” capabilities, which are necessary for removing support vehicles from its operations.
It also expanded its dedicated AFN terminal footprint to Ryder facilities in Houston and Laredo preparing for driver-out operations in Texas.
“During Q1, we made strong progress on our technology development including a continuation of our Driver Out operations,” said Xiaodi Hou, co-founder and CEO of TuSimple. “TuSimple has entered the 'Driver Out' era. In this new era, we are focusing on increasing efficiency through expanding our operational design domain and optimizing our operations so we can deliver a world-class product to our customers.”
TuSimple reported $2 million in total revenue, up 140% year over year, and its revenue increased increased 10% sequentially from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022. It noted that “2022 continues to present headwinds in adding drivers, trucks, and trailers.”
In response, TuSimple will continue using retrofitted Navistar equipment and delay full commericalization of its autonomous trucks until 2025, reported FreightWaves. The company is also slowing how it adds maps to the 7.2 million miles it has autonomously driven so far.
The company spent $56 million research and development, and spent $19 million in compensation costs for selling, general, and administrative expenses, including $10 million in stock-based compensation. Loss from operations and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) on Q1 was $112 million, and its adjusted EBITDA was $80 million.