While the cost and efficiency implications of autonomous trucks have been fairly nebulous until now, the multi-day deployment of a Kodiak truck has now provided some insight. Using a Kodiak self-driving truck and trailers from U.S. Xpress, a pilot project was conducted last month, covering about 10,160 kilometers (6,350 miles) on four round trips – eight segments in all – and delivering eight commercial loads between Dallas and Atlanta.
A rotating team of four professional Kodiak safety drivers monitored the autonomous system during the trips. The truck was in operation 24 hours a day for a total of 131 hours – nearly five and a half full days. Keeping in mind that truck drivers in the U.S. have a maximum daily driving time of 11 hours, utilization increased by 100 percent
Safety drivers were still in use to take control of the truck in an emergency, but as soon as the course is set technologically and legally that they are no longer needed, the costs for freight forwarders and logistics companies will fall, and with them freight prices.
U.S. Xpress-CEO said about that pilot run,
We fundamentally believe that Kodiak’s autonomous technology will allow us to scale our fleet while increasing truck utilization compared to a human-driven truck. Our strategic partnership is helping both of our teams identify ways to quickly integrate and scale autonomous technology into our fleet once it is commercially available.
This article was also published in German.