Robot truck startup TuSimple said to raise $350 million in the biggest funding round to date.

Robot TuSimple

TuSimple, a startup that’s developing self-driving technology for heavy-duty trucks, has raised about $350 million in a Series E round closing this month, at least $50 million more than it had targeted, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The round is being led by consulting and investment firm VectoIQ, led by Steve Girsky, and includes additional investment from current truck-building partners Navistar and Volkswagen’s Traton Group, a freight rail operator and grocery retailer, according to the people, who declined to be named ahead of a formal announcement. Girsky, who’s also chairman of hydrogen truck startup Nikola, declined to comment.

TuSimple President Cheng Lu told Forbes in September that the company hoped to raise up to $300 million in the round. If it has brought in $350 million, that would be its largest raise to date and boost cumulative funding to about $600 million. The closely held company, which generates a small amount of revenue hauling freight for commercial customers, was valued at $1.12 billion prior to the Series E, according to PitchBook.

A TuSimple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s latest funding round.

TuSimple, begun in 2015 by computer scientist Xiaodi Hou when he was finishing his Ph.D. at Caltech, has been a fast mover in the race to get driverless semis on the road in competition with companies including Waymo, the longtime leader in self-driving cars, and startups Embark Trucks and Kodiak. It has development deals with Traton and Navistar (which Traton recently acquired), hauls loads for customers including UPS and 48 autonomous trucks operating on highways in the Southwest. (Currently, safety drivers remain behind the wheel at all times.)

Additionally, closely held TuSimple intends to eventually list shares via a traditional IPO and not through a SPAC merger, the people said, without elaborating.

TuSimple’s U.S. operations are based in San Diego and its main engineering depot is in Tucson, Arizona. It also recently opened an additional truck depot in Dallas.

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