We are rapidly approaching a Transformers-like world where everything is automated. From lawn mowers to ticket vendors, everything is becoming automatic and the trucking industry is certainly not omitted.
There have recently been many breakthroughs in the automated vehicle industry and large corporations are slowly but surely embarking on an arms-race to try to be the first one successfully on the road with automated cargo transportation.
Multiple companies have been trying to land on Plymouth Rock first to take reign of the automated trucking sector.
That determination, however, is exactly what led to some unethical decisions resulting in a lawsuit filed from Alphabet-owned, Waymo against San Francisco powerhouse, Uber.
Uber acquired the startup company, Otto, in attempt to get their foot in the door of self-driving trucking which later turned out to be a grave mistake.
Prior to starting Otto, the founder Anthony Levandowski, who was at one time a star engineer for Google’s Waymo, left Google to start his own automated trucking firm to only later be bought up by Uber.
Waymo has accused Levandowski of stealing thousands of files of proprietary information regarding their self-driving technology before leaving and starting his own business and then implementing that information into Uber’s own automated trucking business.
Uber has released statements claiming they were completely unaware of the accused actions and had no idea any confidential documents were illegally taken from the Alphabet owned company.
Waymo went back to a March 11, 2016 meeting between Levandowski and Uber execs where Levandowski supposedly confessed to having “about five discs of Waymo material he had discovered.”
This turned to Uber exclaiming that the way Levandowski went about acquiring the data was unclear and that Uber told Levandowski they want nothing to do with the information, do not bring it to Uber and to contact his lawyer.
Reports were later discovered that alluded to the fact Levandowski actually destroyed the discs and as a result, Uber claimed “that no proprietary information was used in the development of its autonomous vehicle program.”
The case, which is set to begin in October, is sure to have loads of twists and turns as both companies have a lot on the line. Uber, who is determined to maintain their innocence against Waymo, who is trying to prove that Levandowsky is guilty of stealing more than 14,000 files of data and using it to help build Uber’s self driving technology.
Here’s what several other companies, who are not dealing with legal road blocks, are doing to break into the automated trucking industry.
Based out of California, Starsky Robotics has made an ingenious breakthrough regarding an aftermarket kit that has already allowed trucks to haul freight over 120 miles in self-driving mode.
Able to give big-rigs automated capabilities, Starsky Robotics has created a solution that can allow the driver to control the truck via remote.
Backed by Volvo and UPS, Peloton has developed a system that allows trucks to platoon off other trucks. So basically trucks can platoon, or safely follow one another by pressing a button, which translates to massive savings in fuel.
Damlier, the parent company of Mercedes, has created a semi-automated self driving car that will severely decrease the stress levels of the drivers. Utilizing sensors and cameras to make driving safer, Damlier is a crucial company for making the road a safer place.
The german owned company is also investing in battery powered trucks and is planning on making headway this year.
Kingpin Amazon has assembled a 12-person team that has been tasked with determining the advantages associated with automated driving and their plans are still unclear.
Tesla’s founder and brain child, Elon Musk, never ceases to amaze. Tesla has released plans of a semi-automatic truck that would, as he puts it “deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”