This is a repost of a story about the autonomous truck driving company named IKE. Those of us here at Truck Depot LLC liked it and decided to repost, from the original story we found in HDT it as it was written to share what we believe to be the more optimistic reality of autonomous trucks. The fact that this companies technology is one that requires that a human still be in the truck somewhat as a co-pilot as opposed to the others that are eliminating the human driver factor all together. So go ahead and check out the story and leave your comments to let us know what you think as well.
“President Dwight Eisenhower was enough of a visionary to advocate for the establishment of the Interstate Highway System. And so, while presidents usually get a luxury car marque named after them, it’s a fair assumption Ike would be pleased to see his name given to a new, startup autonomous truck company.
As reported by Wiredmagazine, the San Francisco start-up Ike was founded by CEO Alden Woodrow, CTO Jur van den Berg, and Nancy Sun, chief engineer. The top management team have all worked at some of the automotive industry’s major autonomous vehicle developers, including Google, Apple, Otto, and Uber. In fact, all three executives left Uber last summer after the company shut down its autonomous truck development unit.
Today, according to Wired, the three managers say they’re taking a small step back in terms of capability, with a goal of focusing on a more “elemental” self-driving truck. According to Wired, this led to the decision to focus on trucks, instead of cars, since long-haul trucks don’t typically have to deal with pedestrians or cyclists and usually enjoy well-marked lane lines.
“We do not want to do a single right turn off the highway,” van den Berg told Wired, noting that even right turns are technological complications. Instead, he envisions Ike’s trucks pulling into roadside transfer hubs, where humans drivers will climb in and pilot the rigs to their final destinations.
To jumpstart the development process, Wired reports, Ike is licensing the autonomous vehicle software from robotics and artificial intelligence developer Nuro, a two-year-old self-driving startup that focuses on delivery robots and launched its first pilot project with Kroger in June.
In return for a stake in Ike, Nuro will give the company access to software that helps autonomous vehicles “see” and “understand” what’s going on around them, Wired reports. Ike developers will have to adapt those systems to work in a self-driving truck.
Ike expects to start testing its autonomous truck technology on California highways in a matter of months.”
We are excited to announce that we are closer than ever today to the premier of the Truck Depot LLC Podcast. We have been working on the production all in the attempt to make sure the show is not just another show where people are complaining without any fix at the end. We are going to be doing interviews of professional truck drivers, owner operators, truck company owners, and government officials that live and work in the trucking logistics industry daily. We are going to be talking with the people that struggle with the good, bad, and ugly aspects of the trucking industry and ask the decision makers the why’s and the when’s of any solutions.
We personally invite everyone to tune in and call in and give their opinion or even two cents. This is going to be an adult mature content podcast, since we are discussing adult issues with adults. We do not want anyone under age to listen and be shocked or offended or wrongfully educated. We are looking forward to having fun getting answers to tough issues in our industry. We will be serious while we also have fun with our guests and listeners.
So if you are looking for a new energetic podcast discussing the tough issues in the industry then tune in. We will be premiering February 25th.
It is the weekend of super bowl 52. Actually, at the time that I am writing this, it is Super Bowl LIII Sunday. I am not siding for either team. I believe they have both already won, just for being the two top teams in their leagues, respectively. What does the super bowl, of any number, have to do with the trucking industry. I will explain that in just a few more sentences.
The Super Bowl, in America, is synonymous with friends and families, in many cases, coming together and enjoying time together eating and drinking and having fun with their sporting rivalries. It all boils down to the fact that they are having fun with each other away from work. This is where the connection, for me, to the trucking industry comes into play, no pun intended. Truck drivers, especially OTR drivers and owner operators, are most likely working today and that means usually working away from home. They have no chance to join family or friends at someone’s home to enjoy the game. They are working, delivering drinks, food, TV’s, and more that were all brought together to enable others to have the good times. Most often all of us forget that there are humans out there making our lives possible. Well today this made me stop and ponder the who, what, where, and why of OTR drivers of the trucking industry and the pain and struggles they go through.
The “Who” aspect of OTR drivers is very simple to address, and explain. These are the men, women, and couples that have made a choice to drive the open roads of the nation. These are the people that do not want to sit in an office, every day from 9-5. These are the people that do not have a desire to deal with a supervisor looking over their shoulder and micro-managing their every move. These are the people that love the freedom of an ever changing scenery, the responsibility of getting a job completed. These are the men and women that are so similar to the cowboys of western lore that risked a hard life to do things others were unwilling to do. To live by a different set of rules. Some have even coined the phrase “Asphalt Cowboys” when referring to today’s truck drivers. There is no age classification that depicts a truck driver. There are an even number of those coming into the industry in their twenties, thirties, forties, and seasoned veterans in their fifties and beyond. Veterans of American armed forces, emigrants seeking a better life of opportunity, and every walk of life in between round out the “Who” portion of an OTR truck driver. But, how about the “What” aspect of a truck driver.
This part is not as easy to explain with a few phrases or one description. What an OTR truck driver is, is not that simple and carries an infinite number of versions of descriptions. I would like to my personal description of the What aspect of the OTR truck driver. What a truck driver is to me, is a person that chooses to live a life of freedom from the office. To do a job that is very physical in nature. These are the men & women, both young and older, that work 24/7 to make a living and better life for themselves, their families, and the entire society that we all live in. I have said the following quote in speeches I have given at conferences and business stages across the united states; “If it were not for truck drivers, our society would come to a halt within days.” What an OTR truck driver is, is the person that works tirelessly without seeing loved ones for weeks, or months, at a time, makes daily life for society possible, are some of the most understanding & patient people on the roads, or maybe in the world, for taking the crap other drivers give them. All of these traits ,and personalities, in my opinion, are what a OTR truck driver is, even after all of the abuse and disregard we give to them. Now, the “Where” aspect of my article is very easy, in a sense.
The “Where” aspect of an OTR truck driver is very simple; EVERYWHERE. Every single state in the union. Every country across the planet. Every township, suburb, city, and space in between is the Where of the OTR truck driver. I have said earlier that there is no aspect of life that trucks do not touch. The OTR truck driver can be in Los Angeles on Monday and delivering and picking up in New York city by Friday. 2789 miles in an estimated 41 hours. In many ways there is no such thing as “Where” when it comes to an OTR truck driver, because they are never really in one place for too long, all in order to deliver and survive financially. There have been some that have called them vagabonds of the road, back when I was a child. Sadly in today’s business concentric and political affected world, truck drivers are caught in the middle of politics and dividends. City and state politicians know that they need trucks to operate and sustain the nation’s economy. Private and public companies know that they make billions of dollars of revenue and millions of dollars in profits, and stock dividends, just as long as those trucks continue to move and cost less. The “Where”, regarding trucks and truck drivers, continues to be a danger as there are less and less safe places for truck drivers to rest or stop. Where drivers are, and where they need a place to stop and rest, is a unarguable fact of need. I look optimistically toward the near future where companies and people realize the need for more than just technology apps or futuristic autonomous trucks to help alleviate the stress on truck drivers. So, we are left with the “Why” aspect & question that begs to be answered.
To some degree, the question of “Why” has already been answered as we have moved along through my article here. The why is the fact that OTR truck drivers are human beings. They are our friends, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, and simply decent humans that have put their personal needs on the back burners to help society live every day of the year. These are the men and women that make life possible. I am not saying that tomorrow the federal department of transportation will finally fund the building of parking lots for trucks to safely park and protect the OTR drivers. I do not believe that the advent of autonomous trucks, driving the roads, will happen within the next five years, or even if it did would be across the nation and safe without the assistance of a human driver. For me the “Why” of this article, or thought of mine on paper, is similar to the “Why” of today’s Super Bowl 52. It is so interwoven with the fabric of America and what makes us a great nation; People helping people, families sharing joy and love with one another, and the concept of working together as a team to create spectacular outcomes and victories for all!
So, for all the Super Bowl 52 celebrations, I hope they are safe and superb. For all of the OTR drivers on the roads across the nation making those Super Bowl celebrations possible, I wish you all safe travels and positive changes to come.
OTR Drivers have a very dangerous career and life physically. There is so much more of a price that they pay beyond physical danger though. We couldn’t have said it better than the guy that made this video. I have not written much here in this post because i believe the video and the drivers narration says it all. Anyone seeing this post and the video take a moment when you’re on the road and remember the OTR drivers are making life possible for every single one of us every day.
The Truck Parking Crisis – Responsibility of the State or Private Industry
Truck Driving, more specifically The Truck Parking Crisis, is a factor that has an effect on everyone in every industry and walk of life. 2019 is going to be a dramatic year of rises and falls in our economy, our politics, and the trucking industry. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the facts that every single American is touched, in some way, by the Truck Parking Crisis. As a person that works for a company that has been, and continues to, be hard at work to creating answers to the Truck Parking Crisis in America, I decided to look into how and who it effects.
If you are a truck driver then you know the truck parking nightmare all too well. As a driver, that is a driver for a company and not an owner/operator, you are impacted directly by the “Hours of Service” laws. The laws that mandate how much you can work and the mandatory times you must come to a stop within a 24-hour period. The public, at large, do not realize that the “hours of service” law is the case for drivers and how it affects their work day. If we were to ask a professional in any career, other than professional truck driver, to only work so many hours and then at the limit of those hours they had to come to a complete stop no matter what, how would that work. I will give just a simple scenario here as an example. What would it look like if it were a doctor? Now, more often than not a doctor, in a busy metropolitan environment, works shifts in a hospital of up to 36 hours straight, with some intermittent naps if possible. In many cases naps are just not always commonly available due to the constant onslaught of patients coming in as emergencies. So, what would most of us do if we, or a loved one of ours, were to be rushed into a hospital emergency room, via a horrible car accident, and the doctor on duty said to us;
“Sorry I really would love to help but the fact is my hours that I am allowed to work have just come up and I am required to either sit here and do nothing or go home and do nothing for the next 14 hours.”
Some of you are thinking that my example here is not a fair comparison. But, what if the freight on a truck were something needed so bad that it might save a life, like medications to a pharmacy or? Of course, the example is not going to be allowed. Such a situation, within the world of medicine directly affecting too much of our society, would never be allowed by private and governmental departments working together to ensure this type of situation remains hypothetical. Yet, the direct and the indirect effects of the trucking and logistics industry touch every one of our lives in the United States and beyond. As I have mentioned, in previous talks, look around in your life, and see if there is anything, be it a product or service, that has not spent some time or have had some connection to being on a truck. 76% of all logistics move on commercial trucks. When it is examined the statistic is that on a daily basis there are 1.5 million trucks on the road looking for a safe place to park and of that need there are only 300,000 parking spaces potentially available.
We know there is an enormous demand for truck parking across the United Statesand we know that the demand is only going to continue to grow. Yet, the local, state, and federal government offices continue to do research programs and simply stop there. So, then the questions beg as to who will pick up the slack and help move forward. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here trying to blame the government offices across the United States for the truck parking crisis. I am simply trying to bring it out of the dark ages of simply researching a fact, that we all know exists, and then let it end there. I am suggesting that the government offices, state to state, begin to be more open and willing to work with private industry to create the parking facilities that our industry, and the world of commerce and public safety need. It is going to take more than simply knowing the statistical numbers. Those of us in the traffic and logistics industries, including the government departments, know what the statistics are and have been historically and that they will do nothing but grow with increased speed. This is not an epidemic that will be cured by autonomous trucks. We, as a society, as an industry, and as an economy need an answer today and in the near (3 years or less) future. So, what is the answer to this issue?
There is no single quick fix answer to this issue but there is a fact that both sides of the issue must face. I believe, that the government departments at the city, county, state, and federal levels have to get past the simple statistics and look towards working with private companies, that have been in the truck parking space for more than just a few months as an extension of another business. They have to be willing to work with such companies as “Partners” in business. Give tax breaks, give true help for land use zoning, be willing to give government land leases to the companies that are actually in the business of helping and answering the needs of the driver, the freight industry, and the communities they are needed in. I can only speak from our experience in that we have been fortunate enough to be currently working with Washington State DOT, Oregon State DOT, and Nevada State DOT, and private companies like Amazon logistics and how helpful they have been to work towards developing a working relationship that is more than just simple statistics and more of a business relationship. All of our efforts have been in order to achieve a successful outcome for not only the drivers and the logistic companies, but for the economies they are a part of and seek to help.
The truck parking crisis is not something that will go away. The truck parking crisis is not something that will be remedied in one to three years. The truck parking crisis is something that will increase every year with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. The truck parking crisis affects every single one of us in the entire United States and thus will take a “Real” working partnership of government and private industry. As I am writing this article, we are the 22nd day of the United States Government shut down. As a nation, we are beginning to feel, and see, the ramifications of what can happen when one side cannot work with the other side in unison. I believe, and truly hope for our industry and that of the American society, that state and federal departments can begin working hand in hand with private industry to remedy the Truck Parking Crisis.
The new year of 2019 is upon THE TRUCK DEPOT LLC in just two days from now. I will not try to write some long drawn out post trying to encompass the year of 2018 in review and how it has affected the trucking industry that we at Truck Depot partially work in. I would like to take the time to just talk about some of the people and places that we have visited and worked with in the truck driving, warehousing, and logistics/transportation industry this past year and where it has taken us in our struggle to grow across the pacific northwest growth.
First I would like to define the Truck Depot LLC as more than merely a truck driving parking lot, we are so much more than that. We do work directly within the truck driving industry but we also work in warehousing, freight management, and logistics all in the effort to make the roads safer, and business commerce better for drivers, state and local governments, and the general societies in the communities we are looking to serve.
Since August of this year (2018) we have been hard at work to develop our plan for growth and serving the trucking community better. We have been fortunate enough to have developed wonderful working relationships with the Washington State Department of Transportation. We are working together to achieve more options across the state of Washington that would allow drivers, fleet operators, and freight owners to not only have a safe secured place to park both short term and long term but to also allow for cross docking efficiencies. Helping drivers and their loads be safer, meet the hours of service laws, and increase a seemingly ever increasing shrinking margin.
We have currently been working with the DOT’s of Washington, Arizona, and Nevada states and can only praise these states for the open-minded reasoning and their desire to find a working relationship for the trucking industry and the businesses that are directly affected as well as the safety of all that drive the roads in the states. Washington has been the most helpful and the most passionate about creating something that will work for everyone.
We have also been very fortunate to have paired up with an incredible law firm helping us to navigate some of the wild waters in order to allow us to grow faster with outside investment. We have been fortunate enough also to have been in early talks with the logistics divisions of Amazon and even Uber Freight in attempts to create working joint ventures that will allow us to better serve our customers. We have earmarked our growth of locations to be 3-5 for the year of 2019. We have been in talks with localized venture capital firms and even have been in talks with the infamous Shark Tank.
We have been in talks and planning with a development firm in the Spokane Washington area to develop a fifteen-acre facility for truck depot only hundreds of yards away from the new Amazon distribution center and feet away from the i-90 frontage. I have added some of the photos of the current state of the site.
We have had our ups and our bumps in the road the past five months from Portland to Seattle to Blaine to Spokane to Dallas Texas with the Money Show we took part in. With the exception of Dallas and Blaine we have had a very positive five month and have come out in a wonderful position in order to grow and thus support our trucking and logistics industry and so much more. We are thankful to all of you that have been there for us along the way and we look forward to having an even better 12 months in 2019.
We wish all of our current and future customers and all of our working partners that best of health and happiness in 2019 and we hope to see you all as we continue to grow and reach out to all.