Hydron 4

TuSimple co-founder launches hydrogen AV startup

June 14, 2022
The new company, Hydron, will create purpose-built, autonomous-ready trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

A co-founder of autonomous driving company TuSimple has started a new company, Hydron, that aims to combine the power of hydrogen-electric trucks with autonomous driving technology.

"The path to commercializing autonomous vehicles requires the complex integration of both hardware and software," said Mo Chen, CEO at Hydron. "The biggest challenge in bringing autonomous driving to the market at scale is not software development, but access to reliable mass production hardware, and now with Hydron, we will be able to provide automotive-grade hardware specifically for autonomous networks."

    See also: Futurist: Battery-electric trucks are a 'fantasy'

Chen, a Canadian entrepreneur, also co-founded self-driving technology company TuSimple—which is not affiliated with privately held Hydron—in 2015. UPS invested in TuSimple before the company went public through an initial public offering that raised $1.3 billion and valued the company at $8.5 billion last December, TuSimple became the first company to operate long-haul heavy-duty trucks autonomously on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without remote intervention.

The first generation of Hydron trucks is predicted to enter mass production in the third quarter of 2024, according to a press release. The goal is to reach L4 autonomous driving, meaning the trucks will drive themselves under most but not all circumstances, without a human in the vehicle. To attain L4 autonomy, trucks will have to ship with a complete set of sensors, computing units, and redundant actuators. 

    See also: TuSimple, Werner partner to provide roadside service for Level 4 AVs

Hydron plans to develop, manufacture, and sell the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well as construct refueling infrastructure. Hydron also plans to collaborate with partners to build a manufacturing facility in North America to better meet U.S. supply chain challenges. The company will focus on the North American, European, and Middle Eastern markets.

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