There’s a lot of talk in recent years about the threat driverless trucking poses to the jobs of truckers. And there’s definitely some truth to this possibility. After all, many companies are aggressively developing this technology. Still, the supposed take-over isn’t here yet and there is at least one company who views truckers as vital to the future of their driverless technology.
Starsky Robotics is attacking driverless trucking in a completely different way than most start-ups. This company, which is located in San Francisco, is working on autonomous trucks that are equipped with remote driving capabilities. In fact, their new campaign slogan is “The future of driverless trucking is not driverless.”
The company’s chief executive and co-founder, Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, declared that his company was different than others because it combined the “unique combination of human decision-making and automation.
He said, “While others are trying to build fully autonomous trucks, we are building a truck that drives with no person in it and is remote-controlled for the first and last mile and that’s a completely different mindset. We’re not eliminating drivers’ jobs. Instead, we are moving them from a truck to a safe and comfortable office where they utilize years of their long-haul trucking experience, but remain close to their families and go home between shifts.”
The Plan Going Forward
As of now Starsky possesses three autonomous trucks but is scheduled to increase the number to 25 driverless trucks by 2020. Nevertheless, Starsky can’t attain this lofty goal without the revenue they produce from their usual over-the-road trucking operation. This part of the business currently consists of 36 trucks. Starky achieved its operating authority in March 2017.
So, as it stands, their current fleet of trucks are hauling for freight for money. The trucks are operating all across the country, while the autonomous trucks are going through testing in Florida and Texas.
The company’s masterplan is to eventually switch the extra qualified drivers over from the day-to-day side and have them tele-operate the autonomous trucks from an office situation.
What do you guys think? Do you think this would be an effective solution to keeping truckers employed?