TuSimple Legal Chief Resigned Amidst an Investor Lawsuit Brought on by a Truck Accident

The era of autonomous driving is upon us, with more and more companies exploring the possibilities of AI and what it can bring to the table. TuSimple is a product of this revolution, bringing autonomous driving to trucks and logistics in an attempt to redefine long-haul trucking. However, despite promising superior logistics solutions, the company is now in hot water for allegedly misrepresenting the capabilities of its trucks.

The class action lawsuit was filed on August 31st by Austin Dicker on behalf of TuSimple investors after an accident involving one of the truckswhich caused investors to doubt the autonomous vehicles’ capabilities. The impact of the accident was so severe it saw the company’s stock prices drop by 10%.

Video evidence of the accident shows the truck veering off into a highway median immediately after the autonomous functions are turned on. While it did not hit any other vehicles, the sudden jerk across lanes made people wonder about the accuracy of what was reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Perhaps more concerning is the idea that the accident could have been worse if nobody was in the vehicle to control the situation. As a company looking to usher in the “Driver Out” era of self-driving trucks, TuSimple ultimately wants the trucks to serve as completely autonomous vehicles.

In fact, according to TuSimple’s website, the company “made history by becoming the world’s first to operate a fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human on board while naturally interacting with other motorists.”

In response to the incident, TuSimple responded that it was caused by human error. According to the company, the system was not engaged, and the driver should not have attempted to activate it at that time. They also reported that it was modified to prevent similar incidents.

TuSimple’s confidence is not shared by those seeking legal action. The lawsuit claims that the company’s commitment to safety was overstated and that it concealed fundamental problems with the technology. Moreover, it alleges that behavior and culture in the company promoted an unrealistically ambitious schedule over safety .

The lawsuit states that the rushed manufacturing and testing ultimately led to a higher likelihood of accidents involving the company’s technology. The result is the aforementioned accident and investors suffering significant losses.

However, just as the company faces the legal battle ahead, it also lost its chief legal and administrative officer, Jim Mullen. While he is replaced by an experienced interim general counsel, Susan Marsch, his resignation in the middle of the lawsuit is concerning.

Of course, Mullen claims that his departure has nothing to do with the lawsuit. He mentioned in a LinkedIn post on September 7th that he was excited for the “next chapter” of his career and would miss the “many talented and dedicated professionals at TSP” .”

Mullen also pointed out that he believes strongly in autonomous trucks, seemingly showing his support for TuSimple.

Spencer Hulse is a news desk editor at Grit Daily News. He covers startups, affiliate, viral, and marketing news.

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