Shares in TuSimple, a self-propelled truck developer backed by Volkswagen and UPS, plunged on Thursday after an initial public offering, showing investors doubting the public’s promises. company about getting its technology to work by 2024.
The San Diego-based startup has raised over $ 1 billion in an IPO worth nearly $ 8.5 billion. Stocks started trading on the Nasdaq under the TSP symbol at $ 40 per share around noon, but quickly fell as much as 19%.
TuSimple and other companies working on autonomous vehicles believe long-haul trucks are particularly well suited to self-driving technology. Routes along highways where trucks travel multiple times are easier to map and less challenging than local roads, where self-driving systems have to deal with stop and unpredictable traffic, riders bicyclists and sets.
TuSimple’s self-driving technology relies on several sensors but focuses on long-range cameras, which says it is possible to map objects to an accuracy of 5 cm and see as far as 1,000 meters. The company has a fleet of about 70 vehicles, with 50 in the United States and 20 in Europe and Asia. As of the end of March, the company said it had more than 5,700 bookings for vehicles, often requiring deposits of just $ 500.
The company is testing its technology with safe drivers on southwestern roads, saying it aims to start making fully autonomous rides on highways by 2024 through partnership with Navistar, truck manufacturer. TuSimple has mapped more than 3,000 miles of motorways and hopes to map the entire 46,000 miles of the Interstate System within the next three years.
Competition is heating up. On Thursday, Walmart said it was investing in Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle division.