Autonomous driving industry has seen a dramatic shift towards the B2B market with emphasis on logistics and transportation as the significant penetration of AVs in passenger vehicles is still a matter of 5 and more years. Autonomous trucking companies have gained significant momentum since the drastic hit of pandemic. Almost every AV tech provider that M14Intelligence has talked with, are aggressively exploring the potential in commercial/B2B sectors to initiate with their go-to-market plans. These mostly consists of the AV integration in businesses such as mining, ports, goods delivery, warehousing, military, construction, and freight transportation.
With the official entry of AV Tech giant- Waymo with its Via in October 2020, the race in AV trucking business has become more aggressive. It has launched initial tests with its retrofitted long-haul Class 8 Chrysler Pacifica trucks in California, Georgia, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Waymo already have a strong brand presence in AV robotaxi segment, and now deepening investment in AV trucking by opening a dedicated R&D facility in Menlo Park, California and partnering with Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC).
Daimler Trucks AG is a recently announced spin-off from Daimler AG and is planning to come up with two versions of Level-4 autonomous Freightliner Cascadia. The company has already strategized its AV adoption plans by acquiring Torc Robotics in 2019 and partnering with Waymo in 2020.
The dedicated self-driving truck technology companies such as TuSimple, Plus.ai, and Kodiak Robotics have gained significant momentum through partnerships, aggressive testing, and expansions. Plus.ai, in July has started testing its system using real-world scenarios under an agreement with TRC. The company is aiming at major geographies such as Europe and Asia by collaborating with Iveco. Its strong connections and partnerships with some of the largest fleets in China has given a push to pilot its commercial freight operations.
Recently in May 2021, Kodiak Robotics has marked its entry into the Asia-Pacific market for its AV truck technology in partnership with South Korea based conglomerate SK group. Kodiak aims at expanding its footprints in Asian countries and commercializing its AV trucking solution by leveraging SK’s deep-rooted connections with Asia’s leading logistics and technology partners.
Einride AB, the electric and autonomous freight mobility solution provider has raised $110 million in Series B funding to scale up its vehicle deployments in the U.S. and Europe. The company has gain confidence through its latest partnerships with SKF, Electrolux, and Lidl.
TuSimple that recently launched an IPO has strong hold in the market with great partners including UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, U.S. Xpress, and McLane and has created an Autonomous Freight Network. It also has closed deals with Navistar and Traton, the giant OEMS in trucking industry. TuSimple’s AV trucks are announced to go-to-market by 2024.
From these recent strong strategic moves in the industry, this can be concluded that the AV tech companies are pivoting their path towards the freight transportation and logistics to reach the commercial market faster.