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News, Analysis & Perspective on Autonomous Vehicles

Will truck convoying be the first viable commercial application for AV technology?

Industry Background:

Trucking has long been seen as a potentially interesting application for Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology.  According to Sam Bokher in his instructive article, “Segments of U.S. Trucking,” the overall industry is approximately $700B in size and makes up 70% of the overall freight transportation industry (air, water, rail, pipeline, and trucking).   Currently, the industry is segmented based on the fundamental object to be moved:

  1. Courier service & parcel delivery ($60B): These move small items (<110 pounds) and the big players are USPS, Fedex, and UPS.
  2. Less-than-truckload (LTD) ($40B): These trucking operations handle partial truckload deliveries and  try to optimize movement based on combining deliveries ( XPO Logistics, YRC Freight, etc)
  3. Full Truckload Segment ($600B): This is the movement of large amounts of homogeneous cargo (upto 50K pounds). There are inhouse players such as Walmart or PepsiCo. There are also for-hire players such as JB Hunt and Knights Transportation.

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