Xiaodi Hou co-founded the autonomous-driving startup TuSimple a few years ago, but he only took over as CEO and chairman of the board on March 3rd.
Why? Be here – anyone who wants to be a “preacher” for the possibility of an autonomous cargo ship has to talk about it.
“Who is the best person to lead this company? It’s me! Because I’m a relentless decision-making machine backed by a technical background,” Howe told CNBC. Achieving the next big milestone requires “strict integration of different parts of the company”.
Hou’s promotion to CEO has shocked investors, who sent out more than 20% of the shares in the news earlier this month, although the company called it part of a “planned executive legacy.” According to Reuters, the company did not come up with a possible legacy plan during its previous four earnings calls. Howe replaces Cheng Luo, who has led TuSimple since 2018.
Xiaodi Hou, Co-Founder and CTO, TuSimple, on the Center Stage on the second day of Web Summit 2019 at the Altis Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.
Von Ridley | Sportsfile | Getty Images
Howe co-founded the company in 2015 with board member Mo Chen and Chief Operating Officer Xianan Hao. The company said it had achieved fully autonomous freight delivery by the end of last year. TuSimple calls the autonomous operation of a semi-truck “driver out” without a person on board or without remote control.
“We’ve overcome some big problems and we’ve reached this milestone. It’s a new chapter. People don’t really understand technology,” said Howe, who previously served as chief technology officer.
“My other role as CEO is to really be a preacher and to tell the world the truth about the difficult issue of autonomy and the reality we are facing.”
He added: “A lot of people, even those in the industry, are trying to simplify some of the more complex challenges.”
According to David Vernon, a senior analyst at Bernstein, autonomous car stocks have been hard hit by macro pressures on the market. TuSimple shares have fallen more than 60% year on year; Aurora innovation accounts for over 45%; More 25% climb.
In a January note, Vernon said autonomous trucking is coming, but the path to profitability and full commercialization is unclear: “How long will it take? Long. Meaningful income five to six years away if all goes well: technology legislation remains; business models a work in progress; The regulatory structure is a void; it will take time to prove its reliability. “
TuSimple is autonomously freight for some of the big names, including UPS, which has a minority stake in startups, and Rail Operators Union Pacific. The company is also developing fully autonomous semi-trucks with Navistar that will be out of the assembly line by the end of 2024, but that timeline may change.
The company launched an IPO in April 2021. Since then, TuSimple has focused on three goals: proving safety, demonstrating efficiency, and demonstrating the scalability of autonomous driving. With the “driver out” acquisition, Howe says it’s time to unlock the cost savings of autonomous technology.
“We’ve basically introduced a whole system to the world with a lot of security and redundancy.” “So we’re focused on reducing operating costs per mile so that, in the end, we can compete with a human driver on a per mile basis,” said Howe.
Xiaodi Hou will attend the Power Lunch on Wednesday at 2 p.m.