This was the week autonomous trucking startups declared their allegiance to truck drivers. As FreightWaves reported, Starsky Robotics launched a new campaign titled “The future of driverless trucking is not driverless.” TuSimple partnered with Pima Community College on a certificate program for truck drivers. “Human drivers will have to interact with our vehicles for the foreseeable future,” said TuSimple director of public affairs Robert Brown.
This messaging diverges from what companies were saying only a couple of years ago. In an interview with Reuters in 2017, Starsky founder and chief executive Stefan Seltz-Axmachers said the company’s goal is to employ robotics, sensors and software to “make trucks completely driverless.”
While the rhetoric may be shifting, the business models haven’t budged. Starsky is still focused on remote drivers piloting last-mile deliveries, while TuSimple is focused on long haul. Still, expect other driverless companies, startups and established manufacturers, to follow suit with driver-friendly talking points.
“It is abundantly clear to me that it’s not just an intellectual capital game but a financial capital game. The risks are so big and opportunities so massive that there will be few players that have intellectual capital and financial capital. I don’t think it’s winner take all but it’s a big boys’ game.”
-Michael Ronen, a managing partner at SoftBank’s Vision Fund, on the role money will play in determining who wins the self-driving car race. (The Information)
Did you know?
One-fifth of the world’s oil supply travels through the Strait of oil Hormuz, the site of tanker attacks on June 13.
In other news
Amazon-Whole Foods celebrates two year anniversary
Surveys suggest Amazon has chipped away at the “Whole Paycheck” reputation that had hurt the grocer. (WashingtonPost)
Japan to build five bullet trains in India
JR Central, a private rail network in Japan, is building the network. (UrbanTransportNews)
Transportation secretary Elaine Chao sells stock in highway supply company
The transaction comes just days after the holding raised questions over a potential conflict of interest. (New York Times)
Annual auto emissions inspections could become a thing of the past in Pennsylvania
Proposed legislation notes that less than two percent of vehicles that are eight years old or newer failed their emissions test. (PennLive)
Target’s announcement that it will offer same day shipping shines a light on the delivery services that are making the retail delivery wars possible. The big box store’s new offering comes courtesy of Shipt, a service Target acquired for $530 million in 2017. Prior to today’s announcement, Target shoppers were directed to the Shipt website. Now the service has been integrated into Target.com, for a seamless, immediate gratification shopping experience.
Hammer down, everyone!