Companies with names like Aurora, Embark, Kodiak, Ike, Plus, TuSimple, Waymo and more are promising to change trucking as we know it. They want to put driverless trucks on the interstates to run linehaul between staging yards near interchanges. At least one company is still trying to sell truck platooning technology.
Will they fundamentally change trucking? Probably not as much as they might think. And they won’t all make the cut. Trucking has been here before. What we have today is a miniature version of the tech frenzy of 20 years ago.
Back in 2002, you heard names like Qualcomm, Internet Truckstop, and PeopleNet, among others – many others. My tech company list from 2002, when I covered the industry, has more than 200 entries. There have been so many name changes and failures, that it’s impossible to say how many survived and in what form.