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EFS chat recap: Getting fleets ready for autonomous trucks

Autonomous trucking to become a business unit alongside intermodal and OTR

This fireside chat is a recap from the FreightWaves Enterprise Fleet Summit.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: What fleets need to be thinking about as the day of driverless truck dawns

DETAILS: Self-driving trucks hold much promise in improving safety, sustainability and speed across the freight industry. As the technology continues to improve, companies like Embark are working closely with freight ecosystem partners to define autonomous trucking operations at commercial scale. Embark Trucks’ Sam Abidi explains.

SPEAKER: Abidi is the head of business development for Embark Trucks.

BIO: Prior to Embark, Abidi worked at Deloitte Consulting and led the development of the autonomous trucking program. He worked with Fortune 500 companies across the freight ecosystem to define pilot programs, partnerships and commercialization strategies to accelerate the adoption of autonomous trucking and smart logistics technologies.



“In five years, if you peered into a particularly larger carrier, you would see that alongside their dedicated and their [over-the-road] and their intermodal operations, they now have another business unit and it is autonomous trucking.”

“Hub to hub is where this starts because it’s the easiest model to go live with because it’s the simplest technical problem to solve. It requires us just to run on the highway. But over time, we think it’s very probable that you’re mapping in some of your shipper partners’ hubs into your network. Essentially, their distribution centers are becoming like hubs would be.”

“An electric vehicle’s interface is not too dissimilar from a diesel-powered truck. The same way you would give a pedal a position signal, you would give the same thing if it was an electric versus a diesel system. So we don’t see huge engineering feats being needed to retrofit the system to electric. And once electric is ready for it, we expect we would move that way.”

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.