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News

Today’s Pickup: Driverless truck companies embrace the driver

Plus: Amazon-Whole Foods two year anniversary; Japan to build five bullet trains in India; Elaine Chao sells stock in highway company.


Good day,

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.

Quotable

“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.

The Economist

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)

Final thoughts

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!

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Linda Baker, Staff Writer

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves staff reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes mobility, emissions regulations and autonomous trucking. Please send tips and story ideas to lbaker@freightwaves.com.

One Comment

  1. I think this idea of driverless truck is so insensitive all it show is that all these drivers are replaceable by a robot computer I realized it’s the future but really some things just needs to be left alone I personally don’t think that we are ready for this. Look at all the American truckers that will be replaced by these self driving trucks. I think their not safe they can’t even make in towns turns backing so technically they shouldn’t be able to be out there if I was that unqualified to perform my duties what company will hire me nobody but yet these companies are hiring these trucks in place of people people that have sacrificed so much for so many years for these companies only to be kicked to the side like a piece of trash unappreciated that we are from these companies these trucks are going to cause more accidents they going to kill more people than you and these designers of these trucks can even imagine. I feel for my fellow truck drivers I feel from the drivers that’s trying to get their CDLs because I’m a 24 year veteran of trucking I start off as an owner operator I went into company I went local and it’s sad to see these trucks come out on the road it’s sad to see Trucking go downhill but you got these texts savvy people who thinks they can sit at home and control these trucks from home. There’s so much out there on this road that the government who designs eld’s do not know about there’s so much going on out there on these roads that nobody that sits at home can even realize but as a real truck driver we see it all and we’re telling you this is so wrong you just wrong shame on y’all I don’t agree with this

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