The Station: TuSimple loses the driver, Nikola settles and transpo predictions for 2022 – TechMac

The Station: TuSimple loses the driver, Nikola settles and transpo predictions for 2022 – TechCrunch

The Station is a weekly publication devoted to all issues transportation. Join right here — simply click on The Station — to obtain it each weekend in your inbox.

Good day readers: Welcome to The Station, your central hub for all previous, current and future technique of shifting folks and packages from Level A to Level B.

Your normal host, Kirsten Korosec, is taking a much-deserved vacation out in nature, so I’ll be taking on this week to provide the information and need you each a Completely satisfied New Yr and a swift hangover restoration.

It’s formally 2022, however let’s take a fast look over the previous 12 months. To shortly sum up — everybody purchased e-bikes; robotaxis and autonomous vans are getting nearer to commercialization; teleoperated sidewalk supply robots have gotten a factor; the Nationwide Freeway Visitors and Security Affiliation is keeping track of the likes of Tesla and Chevy; just about each OEM is investing critical money into electrifying, and that features battery joint ventures; and eVTOLs received an enormous quantity of funding.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into that final. My colleague Aria Alamalhodaei wrote a two-part collection on the developments shaping the eVTOL area. The primary half regarded again at 2021, highlighting such developments as:

  • SPACs have been taking off and serving to gas a silly sum of money into the business, with corporations like Archer Aviation, Joby Aviation, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace all merging with clean verify corporations.
  • On-the-ground infrastructure, like vertiports and chargers, is popping into its personal enterprise unit, and firms like Archer, Hyundai and Volocopter are exploring methods to combine air mobility right into a metropolis’s current transport networks.
  • There have been elevated orders for eVTOL plane, beginning with United Airline’s $1 billion order with Archer.
  • Automakers — like Hyundai, Honda and Xpeng — are investing assets into constructing their very own flying vehicles.

All of this motion is setting the stage for what’s to return in 2022. A few of Aria’s predictions are:

  • “The primary story of 2022, it’s undoubtedly going to be certification,” Sergio Cecutta, founder and associate at SMG Consulting, mentioned. “It’s the 12 months of put up or shut up.”
  • Extra automakers will begin getting concerned within the area. That a lot is evident from main investments from Toyota and Stellantis into Joby and a producing take care of Archer, respectively.
  • Extra SPAC offers. Aria writes that it’s not a given, “however the excessive capital calls for of aviation may imply extra startups are nonetheless in search of an enormous injection of money by way of the general public markets.”

If in case you have any ideas, criticisms, suggestions or opinions you’d wish to share, you’ll be able to e-mail me at [email protected]


Since we’re making predictions, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some ideas about what 2022 might maintain for the world of micromobility. I spoke to some consultants and got here up with some attention-grabbing, and even wacky, responses.

Crystal ball says…

  • Extra e-bikes will hit the shared micromobility area.
  • Recent VC cash is drying up and there aren’t more likely to be extra new entrants into the area. Those that have made it this far are doubtless right here to remain, they usually’re turning into extra mature and extra environment friendly.
  • That mentioned, the ride-hail corporations (aka Uber and Lyft) is perhaps coming again to play, says Segway’s Tony Ho, primarily based on orders and inquiries for automobiles he’s seeing are available in.
  • All that scooter ADAS we began to see final 12 months? Yeah, it’s right here to remain, and can solely enhance. However that’s not all! Buckle up for smarter automobiles that won’t solely have an effect on the best way you journey, however may also present operators with extra monetization alternatives. Knowledge. Is. All the pieces. Operators shall be in search of methods to promote sensor knowledge.
  • Horace Dediu, business analyst and co-host of the Micromobility Podcast, reckons there’ll be way more integration of micromobiilty choices with transit planning apps like Google Maps.
  • He additionally mentioned we are able to anticipate a wedding between micromobility and the metaverse. The f&%!, you is perhaps considering. Look forward to it. Think about a wise helmet with an augmented reality-enabled visor, stating instructions for you or engaging you into the closest espresso store with a floating coupon!
  • New, heavier, type elements. Personally, I wanna see a tiny automobile with a roof, already! We don’t all love getting caught within the rain.
  • Higher integration of micromobility choices with public transit.

In different information…

Voi simply raised a $115 million Sequence D in what it describes as an oversubscribed funding spherical that can assist it increase into new markets. As scooter corporations consolidate their energy, such an enormous increase this late within the sport is certainly important.

Wind Mobility, which has bought off Italian and Israeli operations in latest months, is now upgrading its e-scooter fleet in Nottingham and Derby within the U.Okay. with LINK e-scooters from Superpedestrian. Customers will now have to obtain the LINK app to proceed utilizing Wind’s service… so is it actually Wind’s service anymore?

Superpedestrian additionally launched 150 seated scooters in Baltimore to supply a safer and extra comfy transportation choice to folks with disabilities and older riders.

Deal of the week


What with the vacations, there haven’t been too many offers, however I did discover AI chip maker Kneron’s $25 million increase. The Chinese language startup will use the funding to begin making chips for autonomous driving purposes. This transfer comes as the corporate probably prepares to go public within the U.S. within the subsequent few years, and with an elevated variety of AV corporations aiming to scale over the identical time-frame, Kneron is perhaps one to observe.

The opposite deal that caught my eye is South Africa’s Planet42, a automobile subscription firm that buys used vehicles from dealerships and rents to clients, which simply raised $30 million in fairness and debt. The spherical is a bridge spherical, a precursor to a Sequence A, and it’ll assist the corporate increase into the Mexican market.

Planet42 has an attention-grabbing enterprise mannequin that it calls “socially inclusive.” As an organization that gives companies in rising markets, it helps individuals who maybe have unstable incomes or unimpressive credit score scores entry automobiles that might probably change their lives.

Notable information and different tidbits

Autonomous automobiles

Waymo is partnering with Chinese language automaker Geely to construct an all-electric, self-driving ride-hailing automobile. The businesses will combine Waymo Driver, Waymo’s AV system, into Geely’s Zeekr automobiles to be used in U.S. markets “within the years to return.”

TuSimple has accomplished its first autonomous truck run on open public roads with out a human within the automobile or any human intervention. Its autonomous driving system totally navigated an 80-mile run alongside floor streets and highways between Tuscon, Arizona and Phoenix, marking a milestone for the corporate that goals to scale its know-how into purpose-built vans by 2024, says president and CEO Cheng Lu.

Iveco joined Plus to launch a pilot in Europe and China that goals to begin validating and integrating Plus’s autonomous trucking know-how with Iveco’s newest gen S-Approach heavy-duty truck.

AutoX constructed a Degree 4 robotaxi manufacturing facility in China to fabricate its gen 5 automobiles, which it says can function with out security drivers within the automobile.

Electrical automobiles

FedEx has obtained its first 5 GM-built Brightdrop electrical supply vans out of an order of 500. The transfer represents an vital landmark for FedEx in its acknowledged aim to have an all-electric supply fleet and be carbon impartial all over the world by 2040.

Gravity launched a fleet of all-electric NYC yellow taxis, which incorporates Ford Mustang Mach-E cabs.

Nikola has come to a decision with the U.S. Securities and Trade Commissio, agreeing to pay $125 million to settle expenses that it defrauded buyers by deceptive them about its merchandise, technical developments and industrial prospects.

Arrival has begun trialing its Arrival Bus at a testing facility within the U.Okay., the place it is going to carry out rigorous testing in order that it could actually acquire certification to function on public roads.


Israeli driver monitoring system (DMS) firm Cipia shall be integrating its tech into Chinese language automaker SAIC’s Roewe RX5 MAX automobile to detect when a driver is distracted or drowsy.

Reporter Rita Liao wrote a deep dive on Chinese language web large Meituan’s dominance of the drone supply area in Shenzhen. Over the previous two years, the corporate has flown 19,000 meals to eight,000 clients throughout seven neighborhoods within the metropolis. Now, the corporate is gearing as much as double down on its aerial supply ambitions. Meituan not too long ago utilized for a allow to function a industrial drone supply service throughout all of Shenzhen, which is predicted to obtain approval in 2022. Meituan’s competitors, Alibaba-backed and e-commerce powerhouse, have additionally invested in related drone supply companies lately.


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