Trucking - The Road to Autonomy

All Things Trucking w/ Dooner

Timothy Dooner, Host, What The Truck, joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss all things trucking.

The conversation begins with Grayson and Dooner discussing the importance of securing DoD (Department of Defense) contracts when developing autonomous trucks as those contracts provide reliable revenue and stability as the autonomous trucking companies ramp up commercial operations. 

Where do you get money if the carriers won’t give it to you, and you are in an economy right now also where the venture cap is not free and you just want YOLO a SPAC out there to the retail traders?

– Timothy Dooner

As the Fed continues to raise interest rates, the days of free money are over for the foreseeable future. With the monetary environment being tight, autonomous trucking companies with little to no revenue will find it very hard to raise capital and at some point will have to shutter.

While the monetary environment remains tight, the geo-political circumstance stance remains fraught as China escalates their pressure on Taiwan. With a geo-political scenario that is uncertain and Taiwan controlling the global semi-conductor industry along with China controlling the electric vehicle supply chain, the potential for a global economic disaster that brings a halt to a future with electric trucks is elevated.

A future with electric trucks is a complex future as there are the supply chain issues in addition to the charging infrastructure issues that are also plaguing the industry. It has been reported by some carriers that it is taking months to get the electrical backhaul needed to operate heavy-duty charging at certain locations. When the electric heavy-duty chargers are up and running, the next issue to tackle is time.

Freight is messy. There is a lot of stuff and a lot of delays and the last thing you want to consider is taking an equation where it used to cost 20 minutes to fuel to now maybe it costs an hour to two.

– Timothy Dooner

In the market there are 250,000 carriers with less then six trucks. These operations are small and they do not have the balance sheet to add electric trucks to their operations, but yet in some States they are being forced due to regulation. The change in regulation could lead to further consolidation in the traditional trucking industry while further opening the door to autonomy.

I think the future model, the realistic future model does look like autonomy in that middle-mile and delivery in that short mile with electric vehicles.

– Timothy Dooner

With the door furthering opening to autonomy in the trucking industry, Grayson and Dooner go onto discuss the current state of autonomous trucking.

Wrapping up the conversation, Dooner shares his vision for the future of trucking.

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Recorded on Friday March 31, 2023