Top News Stories

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

TuSimple expanding in Tucson

TuSimple, a global self-driving truck solutions company, announced plans for further expansion in Tucson. The company has been testing its Level 4 Class 8 autonomous trucks in Arizona for over a year and recently began generating revenue hauling freight for commercial carriers in the state.

Earlier this year, TuSimple expanded its testing facilities at 9538 E. Old Vail Road from 6,800 to 50,000 square feet, and in 2019 the company plans to further expand its footprint. To support its growing development program, TuSimple projects it will create 500 new jobs across a variety of fields ranging from engineering and autonomous truck driving to office management. The company will also expand its autonomous fleet to 200 trucks in the United States by 2019. With 500 trucks worldwide in 2019, TuSimple will be the world’s largest autonomous truck fleet. The expansion has a projected total economic impact of $1.1 billion over the next five years.

Rio Nuevo Board contributing millions to Gadsden Company

The Rio Nuevo Board voted unanimously to contribute $2.4 million to The Gadsden Company to assist in launching a mixed-use project in the Mercado District on Tucson’s West Side.

The project will include 122 courtyard housing units, nearly 13,000 square feet of retail space and an underground garage. The apartments will include studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

Gadsden Company President and CEO Adam Weinstein told the Board at its regular monthly meeting that during the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approval process for the $35 million Monier Building, construction costs increased 12.3 percent, adding to the total cost.

Weinstein acknowledged that the financing is in place, including $9 million of private money, and with the Rio Nuevo investment the project could break ground within weeks.

Two communities earn renewed accreditation

Two Senior Resource Group communities in Arizona have earned renewed accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. The renewal marks the sixth consecutive time that Amber Lights in Tucson and the Silver Springs in Green Valley have earned the prestigious recognition, which is bestowed after a rigorous evaluation of the communities’ assisted living and independent senior living programs.

CARF, an international, nonprofit organization, accredits health and human services providers to promote and ensure a high level of care and service. This type of recognition is similar to a five-star rating in the hospitality industry, and is known as the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to a retirement community.

Self-driving car sensor startup secures seed funding

Lunewave, a startup building new sensors to power autonomous vehicles and 5G wireless networks in Tucson, has raised $5 million in seed funding to develop its radar and antenna technologies. Fraser McCombs Capital led the round of financing, which also included strategic investments from BMW i Ventures and Baidu Ventures.

“We are very grateful for the immense support from top-tier investors and high-profile strategic partners,” said John Xin, co-founder and CEO of Lunewave. “FMC and others bring deep experience across the global automotive and technology industry and we are looking forward to hiring top talent and accelerating development to meet demand from customers.”

Lunewave manufactures specialized Luneburg lens antennae and radar sensors that can act as the “eyes” of self-driving cars. The innovative, spherical sensors have a 360-degree field of view and can detect objects surrounding a car with high resolution, even at long range and in poor weather, capabilities that are normally only achievable with the use of multiple sensors.

El Tour de Tucson dedicated to Nelson Vails

Perimeter Bicycling Association of America Inc. has dedicated its 36th El Tour de Tucson to Nelson Vails, 1984 Olympic match sprint silver medalist.

Vails is the first, and only, African-American cyclist to win a medal at the Olympic games. His ascension from New York City bike messenger to the podium at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games catapulted him to the world stage.

Vails will be honored at the Wednesday, November 14, dedication dinner. The fundraising race is Saturday, November 17. For more information, visit

UA study: Arizona EMTs prone to suicide

Arizona emergency medical technicians’ risk for suicide is 39 percent higher than the general public, according to a new study conducted by University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix researchers.

Neil Vigil, a second-year UA medical student, and Dr. Bentley Bobrow, associate director of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center – Phoenix and professor in emergency medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, recently completed the first peer-reviewed publication that specifically studied EMTs.

“Although we were bracing ourselves to find an increase in suicides among our EMTs, I was really shocked that it was that large,” says Vigil, who is also a Tillman Scholar. “These findings help move the discussion of EMT suicide beyond the anecdotal and personal experiences and adds hard data showing there is a problem that needs to be addressed.”

After seeing the results, Vigil says he wanted to act immediately to find effective solutions. Working with the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), they developed an EMS resiliency website that presents educational materials and resources to help build resiliency and reduce EMS suicide.