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Texas, the paradise of autonomous trucks

Several companies test their shipments in the north of the State. The case of Fort Worth, El Paso, Dallas and Houston.

North Texas has been transformed into a space where autonomous trucks have earned their place on the roads. In this state, companies are carrying out what would be something like “reality tests” to determine the effectiveness of these systems on routes where traffic is fluid.

There are several companies that already work with this automated system. One is Kroger who has the support of Gatik to be able to ship to local Dallas stores from a Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC). These are trucks that preserve the cold chain of the products and that “work” seven days a week at different times.

Kroger’s Mike Baker explained in a video as the launch of this new operating system occurred: “We are implementing consistent automated delivery runs; we run approximately 18 to 20 hours a day. Every time a customer wants an order, we are there to try to deliver it to them”.

Gatik’s co-founder and CEO further detailed in a statement: “Kroger’s commitment to redefining service levels for its customers through innovative technology meant our collaboration came to fruition very quickly. We are deeply familiar with operating our autonomous fleet within the Dallas ecosystem, and we are very excited to bring that experience to support Kroger in its mission to reshape the future of freight delivery”.

Sam’s Club announced earlier that it had implemented automated box trucks in its Georgia-Pacific deliveries to its 34 area locations. These are six trucks that replaced the Class 8.

At the moment the trucks have the presence of a human behind the wheel to verify that everything works well and that there are no faults. However, the ultimate plan is for the trucks to be truly autonomous.

In this state and in 2018 a law was passed that gives autonomous vehicles the same status as conventional ones. And for this reason several of the great leaders in this type of innovation established their bases of operations in North Texas. The sunny climate of the area also helps, say the experts and the exports to Mexico.

The case of Volvo and Waymo

Volvo is another of the companies that he established in the area. In April, he opened an office on Fort Worth’s Near Southside. With autonomous driving technology company Aurora, the Swedish automaker wants to deploy a fleet that delivers goods in two directions: between Fort Worth and El Paso and between Dallas and Houston.

“A growing demand for cargo, a shortage of drivers and rising health and safety concerns – the long-haul industry is poised to benefit from autonomy. Our Autonomous Transport Solution (ATS) for highways offers autonomous charging capacity for shippers, carriers, logistics providers and freight forwarders who want to be at the forefront of industry transformation,” Volvo reports on its official site.

The autonomous solution of this company already has many allies. Convoy, Ascend, Uber Freight with whom they already offer the service in Texas on selected routes and, finally, DHL.

But there is much more, in June of last year the autonomous truck company Waymo tested its deliveries on the routes of this State together with Wayfair, a client of JB Hunt. He did it with his Class 8 autonomous truck and hauled merchandise on Interstate 45 between Houston and Dallas. During the test time, human drivers were also used to verify the process.

Self-driving technology startup Embark is also in this state.

When will they walk without drivers? In Dallas, it is estimated that 20 trucks will circulate fully autonomously in a year and a half, by the end of 2024.

(Image credit: Volvo and screenshot by Kroger Gatik).

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