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Aeva to supply lidar sensors to self-driving truck firm TuSimple

Jan 26 (Reuters) - Aeva Inc, a firm founded by former Apple Inc engineers to supply a key self-driving car sensor, said on Tuesday it had reached a deal to supply the sensors for self-driving heavy duty trucks being developed by TuSimple.

Aeva makes a lidar unit that helps give vehicles a three-dimensional view of the road and is in the process of becoming a publicly trade company through a merger with InterPrivate Acquisition Corp.

It has announced deals with tier-one automotive suppliers ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Denso Corp to supply sensors to automakers for passenger vehicles.

But the deal with TuSimple represents Aeva’s first move into the world of self-driving trucks.

Based in San Diego, TuSimple has minority-stake backing from Volkswagen’s commercial trucking unit Traton SE to develop self-driving trucks. United Parcel Service Inc also has a minority stake in the startup, which is developing self-driving trucks with Navistart International Corp slated to start production in 2024.

Aeva has been testing its sensor with TuSimple since 2019. Aeva’s lidar uses a technology that allows it to detect the velocity of distant objects, which in turn helps the vehicle more quickly determine whether that object is, for example, a pedestrian or a tree.

That capability is helpful in “providing additional safe stopping distance, which has always been a challenge for heavy-duty trucks,” Aeva Chief Executive Officer Soroush Salehian told Reuters in an interview. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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