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Driving forward: A roundup of latest freight tech, autonomous trucking stories

TuSimple grows in Tucson; FreightFriend finds a companion in McLeod Software; and Waymo delivers Girl Scout cookies

TuSimple has $400 million new reasons for self determination in when and whether to go public. (Photo credit: TuSimple)

A roundup of the latest trade news in the world of freight tech and autonomous trucking.

Embark, Kodiak and TuSimple join Self-Driving Coalition

Embark, Kodiak and TuSimple became the first companies dedicated exclusively to developing self-driving trucks to join a coalition representing the autonomous vehicles industry. The coalition’s members include Argo AI, Aurora, Cruise, Ford, Lyft, Motional, Nuro, Uber, Volvo Cars and Waymo.

The Self-Driving Coalition was established to work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles. 

TuSimple grows in Tucson

More news from TuSimple: The autonomous trucking company has partnered with real estate developer Diamond Ventures to expand its Tucson, Arizona, facility starting in the first quarter of this year. 

Currently 216 employees work at the Tucson facility. With the expansion, TuSimple will be able accommodate up to 300 employees, including engineers and drivers, senior director of external affairs Robert Brown told FreightWaves in an email.

Both the Tucson and Dallas hubs are part of TuSimple’s Autonomous Freight Network (AFN) and will support customer freight operations.

“Our Dallas hub in particular is a major milestone for TuSimple because it enables us to add new autonomous trucking operations within the ‘Texas Triangle,’ supporting freight movements between Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin,” Brown said.   

Delta exec lands on Cruise

Cruise, the autonomous vehicle technology subsidiary of General Motors (NYSE: GM), has hired Gil West, Delta Air Lines’ former chief operating officer.

West, who had retired from Delta last year, will become Cruise’s first COO. 

The new hire comes ahead of a Scottsdale, Arizona, pilot in which customers can have orders delivered from local Walmart locations through Cruise’s self-driving electric cars. The partnership is expected to launch early this year.

Amazon execs joins Freightera

Jonathan Shakes former director of product management and director of software engineering at Amazon, (NASDAQ: AMZN) has joined Freightera, a Vancouver, B.C. based freight marketplace. Also jumping from the e-commerce giant to Freightera is Amazon Director of Customer Service Colleen Byrum, who will take the reins as Chief of Staff.

FreightFriend finds a companion in McLeod Software

FreightFriend, a carrier relationship management (CRM) software and freight-matching platform, has partnered with McLeod Software, a vendor of transportation management and trucking software, to improve carrier engagement and allow companies to book more freight more profitably.  

McLeod users can instantly create and leverage ranked lists of carriers for any load or lane through FreightFriend’s dynamic routing guide, the companies said in a press statement. 

Users can also “auto-communicate” ranked loads to carrier partners, and carriers can quote or book it immediately. 

Waymo delivers Girl Scout cookies

Delivering the old with the new, Waymo’s public education campaign has announced a partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX). 

As cookie season gets underway, Waymo Via, the company’s delivery arm, will use its services to help transport cookies from a regional distribution hub in Dallas to another council hub, delivering more than 12,000 packages of Girl Scout cookies, the company said in a blog post.

“This activation helps GSNETX keep the cookie program running in a creative, contact-free way — while also teaching girls about entrepreneurship and innovation, just like the cookie program is all about,” the company said.

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Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected]