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(Reuters) – Shares of TuSimple Holdings Inc made a lackluster U.S. stock market debut on Thursday, giving the self-driving truck maker a market capitalization of $8.5 billion.

TuSimple shares opened at $40.25, marginally higher than their initial public offering (IPO) price of $40 per share.

The San Diego, California-based company sold about 27 million shares in its IPO while some stockholders sold about 6.8 million shares. TuSimple received about $1.1 million in proceeds from the IPO.

The company, backed by Volkswagen’s commercial trucking unit, TRATON SE, and United Parcel Service Inc, is developing self-driving trucks with Navistar International Corp, which are slated to start production in 2024.

Many startups, automakers and large technology companies, including Google’s Waymo and China-based Xpeng Inc, are accelerating work on their self-driving technology that is expected to bring a sea change in the transportation industry.

A string of lidar-sensor manufacturers went public last year through mergers with publicly listed shell companies, including Luminar Technologies Inc, Velodyne Lidar Inc, Ouster Inc, underlining the demand for autonomous driving technology.

TuSimple posted a net loss of $177.9 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020, a recent regulatory filing showed. The company said it expects to incur significant expenses and continuing losses in the foreseeable future.

Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan were among the underwriters for the offering.

Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi