According to The Wall Street Journal, the autonomous trucking business TuSimple is being investigated for its links to a Chinese corporation. According to reports, the FBI and SEC are investigating whether the San Diego-based business deceived investors by funding and transferring technology to Hydron, a company owned by one of TuSimple’s founders.
It was the latest hint of the difficult road ahead for many AV businesses as the sector shrinks, financing dries up, timeframes are pushed back, and regulators identify flaws in the system. TuSimple, a key supplier of autonomous truck technology, is already under investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an earlier this year collision involving one of their vehicles.
Mo Chen, one of TuSimple’s co-founders, created Hydron, which is mostly located in China, in 2021. The business has stated that it intends to manufacture hydrogen-powered vehicles in North America. Investigators are investigating whether TuSimple violated the law by failing to notify regulators about its intention to fund and transfer technology to Hydron, according to the Journal.
TuSimple stated today that CEO Xiaodi Hou, who also serves as CTO and President, will be replaced on an interim basis by Ersin Yumer, vice president of operations, while the company searches for a new CEO. “These steps have been taken in line with an ongoing investigation undertaken by the Audit Committee of the Board,” the business stated in a statement.
TuSimple, which was founded in 2015, now employs Navistar trucks outfitted with the startup’s proprietary self-driving technology, which perceives the world primarily through 20 cameras and two lidar laser sensors. UPS, Nvidia, and Chinese technology firm Sina have invested in the startup, which has offices in San Diego and Beijing. TuSimple was the first self-driving trucking business to go public, launching shares on the Nasdaq in April 2021 with a $8.5 billion value.
TuSimple has stated that it is striving for a totally autonomous system, but its trucks now have two human operators who monitor the driving and take over when necessary. The company’s stock has lost about 90% of its value in the last year, as investors have become pessimistic about the possibilities of self-driving trucks being a viable business in the near term.