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Exclusive: TuSimple CEO On Autonomous Semitrucks, Competition And Going Public

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Exclusive: TuSimple CEO On Autonomous Semitrucks, Competition And Going Public

Autonomous trucking startup TuSimple Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: TSP) held its IPO on Thursday. Company CEO Cheng Lu joined Benzinga’s “Premarketprep At The Close” for an interview to discuss the company and its market debut.

The IPO Process: Lu told Benzinga the company started the process for a traditional IPO back in July 2020. When asked why the company chose an IPO over a SPAC, Lu said the IPO route is a “tried and true process."

Shares were priced at $40 and opened at $40.25, just over the $35 to $39 range the company had planned.

About TuSimple: Everything people touch was likely on a truck at one time, Lu told Benzinga.

Driver shortages, environmental issues and safety concerns could lead to big changes in the trucking market.

“We are an artificial intelligence software company, building the most advanced level 4 autonomous trucks,” Lu said.

TuSimple faces competition in the autonomous trucking field including from Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA). Lu said TuSimple is using different go-to-market methods and has been doing more with less capital.

“What separates us is our track record,” he said.

TuSimple says it is the only company to demonstrate autonomous technology at its level from terminal to terminal, and that it is the only company to have two major partners in the trucking industry working on production.

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Growth Ahead: Self-driving trucks could be a big market, the CEO told Benzinga. The company has reservations from shippers and carriers in the fleet navigation chain.

Navistar International (NYSE: NAV), an investor and partner with TuSimple, is helping the company make the trucks.

Companies that reserve TuSimple trucks are getting a priority spot in line for the first trucks produced in 2024. The orders are cancellable if certain items are not met.

Companies can gain insight into the technology if they have reserved the trucks. “They get a front row seat,” Lu said.

Lu agreed that TuSimple could be a "show me" stock now that it has debuted and will need to hit its goals and projections going forward.

Image by TuSimple

 

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