Three Major Transportation Companies Sign Up To Soon Deploy Driverless Trucks
San Francisco, CA – Three major transportation and logistics companies are partnering with a self-driving technology maker to soon deploy driverless trucks.
On Tuesday, San Francisco, CA-based Ike, a developer of driverless technology, announced it has entered into agreements with Ryder System, Inc., DHL, and NFI.
These fleets, and “several others” Ike has yet to name, will be among the first to deploy trucks equipped with Ike’s “level 4” automated technology on U.S. highways.
“We are focused on building technology that will help make trucking safer and more productive,” said Alden Woodrow, CEO and co-founder of Ike. “Working with these sophisticated fleet partners allows us to plug Ike’s automation solution into huge existing logistics networks that already know how to move goods efficiently.”
The goal is simple… eventually replace truckers on long-haul routes.
In a statement, Ike described its “vision” is for automated trucks to drive on the highway and then “hand off loads to truckers in manually-driven trucks for the journey to and from the interstate.”
However, it claims that despite eliminating many long-haul trucking jobs, this “hand off” model could create 140,000 new local truck driving jobs by 2030.
This, of course, will in no way account for the total number of jobs lost.
In fact, a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study last year found that as many as 900,000 trucking jobs could be lost to driverless trucks in as soon as the next decade.
If you have followed Transportation Nation Network’s (TNN) extensive reporting on the burgeoning autonomous trucking industry then you know driverless tech makers have been laser focused on first displacing truckers who operate along long-haul routes with predictable traffic patterns, and primarily in the south and southwest where weather is also most favorable for automated operations.
How Ike’s Model Will Work
Ike’s fleet customers will buy vehicles from OEM truck manufacturers with Ike’s system of hardware and software already installed, and then pay Ike an annual subscription fee.
The company assures that trucks powered by Ike will be “capable of operating in automated driving mode on designated freight routes.”
Ike plans for the subscription to include various support services, such as integration into digital tools to dispatch and manage the automated trucks, maintenance of new equipment, roadside support, and access for the physical handoff of freight to truckers.
Executives Cheer “Innovation”
Ike Brown, President and Vice Chairman of NFI, expressed excitement about the partnership.
“Our approach to innovation and the people that deliver our solutions are key to the customer value that NFI delivers,” he said. “We are excited to add automated trucking technology to our growing innovation portfolio and accelerate the supply chain industry.”
Karen Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ryder, expressed similar optimism.
“We are at the forefront of identifying new technology and fleet advancements, while acting as an extended research and development arm for our customers,” Jones stated. “Working with an automation technology leader such as Ike is a continuation of this journey.”
The three carriers have already reserved the first 1,000 Class 8 tractors powered by Ike’s technology and will be “collaborating in several areas” in the coming months to help Ike test, prepare and launch its commercial operations.
Ike was founded in 2018 by veterans of Google, Apple, and Uber.