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But nowadays, trucks look more attractive. The American Trucking Association stated that shippers paid US$791.0 billion to transport goods by truck in 2019; in contrast, Aurora estimates the annual market size of online car-hailing to be US$35 billion. Technology developers infer that if they reduce transportation costs, they can get a share of the cost savings. “Densely populated cities obviously need robot taxis, but outside of densely populated cities, everyone has their own car, and you need to create demand,” said Asad Hussain of PitchBook Mobile Analytics.

Manufacturers of self-driving trucks say their technology will save shippers money. Embark said it hopes to sell its self-driving technology as a subscription to fleet operators, saving 80 cents per mile and reducing the cost by half compared to manual driving trucks. After all, robots do not need to be paid, nor do they need to rest. They will not give up so as to avoid the operator’s labor shortage. The robot has no union. The two companies said that human drivers may continue to handle short-distance trucking work, which is a more localized job that allows them more time to stay at home instead of on the road.

Plus, which is testing self-driving trucks in China and the United States, said its first truck will help human drivers complete their jobs more safely and will collect data as they drive. Ultimately, around 2024, the company hopes to make this data work when pulling people off cars. Founder and CEO David Liu said that this process will “take some time.”

The union is skeptical. Sam Loesche, senior legislative and policy representative of the International Brotherhood of Truck Drivers, said: “The use of technology as a panacea for solving the problems that plague the industry has not reached its goal.”

Some recent investor enthusiasm reflects the newly discovered importance of logistics in pandemic-related disruptions, including Port traffic jam And a shortage of drivers Transportation delays. “This is the Amazon effect, everyone can easily deliver everything with the click of a button,” said Jim Schinman, managing partner of Maven Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invested in Embark.

Investor enthusiasm occurred after a series of lively partnerships between technology developers and traditional truck drivers and shippers. Embark works with well-known shippers such as HP and ABInBev, as well as operators such as Werner Enterprises and Knight-Swift Transportation. TuSimple is using UPS for pilots and is working with truck manufacturer Navistar to develop custom vehicles. Aurora is working with Paccar and Volvo’s truck manufacturers. All of this seems to convince the rich that self-driving trucks are the real deal.

However, there are still no real driverless trucks — and probably never will. Self-driving trucks provide an attractive opportunity for safety-truck driving is one of the deadliest jobs in the United States. According to the Labour Department——But an 80,000-pound missile moving at 70 miles per hour can cause a lot of damage. Since self-driving trucks are very heavy and travel faster than cars on city streets, they need to be able to see farther-this is no small technological feat.So far, the company has conducted limited demonstrations and pilot Their technology, but all cabs have safety drivers.

Unlike self-driving car companies, Missed many self-imposed deadlines, The trucking company has not had that much time to fail. “Perhaps when the timetable is extended or there is a crash, investors will say,’Oh, why didn’t it deliver? Why are you not on the right track?'” said Bruno Bowden, an engineer who works for Aurora and is now An angel investor. (He holds shares in Aurora.) The technology is becoming more and more savvy—and investors will do the same someday.


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