Trucking Deal Latest Collapse to Rock Driverless Industry

In another blow to the prospects of driverless vehicle adoption, TuSimple and Navistar have ended a deal to jointly develop self-driving trucks, the companies have said.

Reuters reports that in 2020, Illinois’s Navistar bought a minority stake in TuSimple and announced a deal to have heavy-duty autonomous trucks on the road by 2024. At the time the field of autonomous driving technology was booming amid over-ambitious claims prompting a rush to get involved by some investors.

However, now with the stark realities of how far the technology is away from being dependable to employ in a real-world scenario, the industry is witnessing a flight away by some big players. Both Ford and Volkswagen pulled out forcing the winding up of Argo.AI and accepting a joint loss of more than $3Bn.

TuSimple’s trucks were billed as being able to have operate at Level 4 autonomy on designated highways leaving drivers free to complete other work functions. The company claims to have received nearly 7,000 orders for the trucks from companies including DHL Supply Chain, Schneider and US Xpress.

Even as recently as October, the Californian company boasted its vehicles would see their first commercial operations next year. However, now the outfit is not giving any reasons for the ending of the deal with Navistar and, perhaps, has realized its approach was… too simple?

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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