CEO Argues ‘Fastest, Safest’ Way to Deploy Self-Driving Trucks is ‘Tag-Teaming’ With Humans

Seattle, WA — The founder of a digital freight technology company is making the case why trucking companies should first deploy self-driving trucks in a “tag team” model with human drivers.

In a LinkedIn article published on December 15, Convoy CEO Dan Lewis argued “the safest, fastest, most driver-friendly way to quickly start realizing the benefits of self-driving trucks” is to “tag team” them with human drivers.




 

“The truck would navigate the highway portions, during which the driver would be off-duty resting and resetting their hours-of-service,” Lewis explained. “For the first-and-last mile portions of the run, or whenever the truck is unable to operate autonomously on the highway, the driver would take over. This is similar to an airplane’s autopilot system partnering with a human pilot.”

This model, he contends, would immediately ease supply chain woes by increasing capacity allowing “regional and long-haul runs to be completed in nearly half the time,” and improve workforce retention by “helping drivers make more money, stay productive, and maintain their livelihoods.”




 

Further, Lewis says the tag-team model has “fewer operational hurdles” than does the “hub model” in which a local driver drops a loaded trailer at a hub — located outside of a city by the highway — and then a driverless truck transports that trailer along the highway portion of the run before dropping it off at a hub near the destination city where another local driver then picks it up and takes it to the final delivery location.


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He also asserts the tag teaming operation would be less expensive than deploying the hub model for runs under about 1,500 miles.

“No matter which model is used, as self-driving trucks enter the market we will see years of mixed fleets containing traditional and autonomous trucks of varying degrees, as well as mixed rules and regulations for fleet operators to follow,” he concludes.

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