Is there room for yet another next-generation vehicle maker on the stock exchange? TuSimple Holdings, a developer of self-driving trucks, obviously believes there is, as the company filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday.
It has not yet set a price range, number of shares, or date for the issue. A prominent set of underwriters -- Citigroup (C 2.52%), Morgan Stanley (MS -0.90%), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM -1.16%) unit J.P. Morgan are the three listed in the filing -- plus the popularity of peer stocks on the exchange suggest that the IPO could be fairly large.
TuSimple, founded in 2015, describes itself as a developer of "industry-leading autonomous technology specifically designed for semi-trucks, which has enabled us to build the world's first Autonomous Freight Network... in partnership with world-class shippers, carriers, railroads, freight brokers, fleet asset owners, and truck hardware partners."
The company adds that it has devised a software/hardware solution that provides what it believes to be the most advanced Level 4 self-driving technology for such vehicles. This refers to the Society of Automotive Engineers' five-level classification system for autonomous operation, with Level 4 being described as "conditional self driving without driver." In other words, operation with no input at all from a human, although one could still override the auto-driving system if need be.
That technology could attract investors to the stock once it lists, although there are other next-generation truck makers cruising on the market. Among them are pickup specialist Lordstown Motors (RIDE) and Nikola (NKLA 1.73%). In particular the presence of Nikola, which went public last June and like TuSimple focuses on semi-trucks, could dampen investor enthusiasm for the newcomer.