Freightwaves’ The Future of Supply Chain Recap

This past week, FreightWaves held its annual Future of Supply Chain convention in Cleveland, Ohio. At this event, attendees had the opportunity to witness the digital transformation of various companies in the logistics and trucking industries, including leading self-driving truck company, Torc Robotics.

Across a host of events, panels, and one-on-one engagements with convention goers, Torc brought together some of the greatest minds in transportation, logistics, and supply chain industries. Whether convention goers were seeking out information about the self-driving future or current trucking outlook, Torc Robotics had insights to share.

What the Truck?!?

During the convention, Torc’s Senior Analyst of Corporate Strategy, Frank Mabry, appeared on FreightWaves’ popular podcast, “What the Truck?!?” hosted by Timothy Dooner. Frank delved into the concept of Class 8 autonomous trucking, explaining how these vehicles will operate and shedding light on Torc’s cutting-edge technology. Torc Robotics, in partnership with Daimler Truck North America, is actively developing self-driving truck software designed to handle complex real-world scenarios, adapt to changing environments, and ensure precise vehicle control.

“It’s an exciting time,” Frank said. “We’re working on cutting edge technology, something that’s never been done before.”

‘Truck Tech’ with Alan Adler

Frank also sat down with Truck Tech’s Alan Adler, sparking insight into the autonomous revolution. He emphasized Torc’s approach of building autonomous trucks from the ground up, differentiating them from traditional trucks. Torc’s initial product, a Level 4 autonomous Freightliner Cascadia, is purposefully designed for autonomous applications, incorporating safety redundancies to ensure reliability.

“We’re building the truck from the ground up,” Frank began, explaining the goal for Torc’s initial product: a Level 4 autonomous Freightliner Cascadia. “If you went in and ordered a Freightliner Cascadia and a Torc-powered Freightliner Cascadia, it’s absolutely two different trucks. Ours is designed specifically for autonomous applications. It’s two different chassis, will be a 100% safe, if one system fails another part takes over.”

Torc’s collaboration with Schneider and C.R. England further demonstrates the seamless integration of self-driving truck companies and freight entities, with the aim of achieving consistent drives and minimizing freight loss during transit. Alan and Frank discussed this collaboration throughout their conversation.

“It’s one thing to have all the knowledge about what’s happening in the cab,” Alan prompted. “But your freight component is big.”

“Absolutely!” Frank replied. “We’re thinking you’re gonna have more of a consistent drive, more consistent arrival and less freight loss from transit, if we have these kinds of pilots early on.”

Torc’s “brake light” event giveaway, number two in ‘What the Truck!!?!’s’ swag competition

The Torc team also joined FreightWaves Radio’s host, Grace Sharkey, to dive into the vast world of autonomy. This time, Frank Mabry was joined by Nick Elder, Torc’s Director of Strategy. Together, they talked through what the impacts of autonomy could potentially have on the truck driver population.

Nick and Frank shared that it’s important to note that the adoption of autonomous trucks is likely to be a gradual process, allowing time for the industry and workforce to adjust and adapt to the changes. In the same vein, regulations on self-driving vehicles vary drastically from state to state and even city to city. As the greater conversation about driverless trucks develops, it will take some time for municipalities, states, and federal government officials to collaborate on the best solution for each unique scenario.

If you’re interested in tuning into this SiriusXM episode, check out Channel 146, or Road Dog Trucking, in the SiriusXM app.

Event Takeaways

The FreightWaves event offered engaging discussions, rapid-fire demos, interactive sponsor kiosks, and other exciting activities. With over 70 experts in the freight industry, we had the chance to engage in sessions with our partners, peers, and vendors about the future of our industry. With every relationship we develop with our trucking and logistics counterparts, we get one step closer to an autonomous future.

As with all events we attend, our goal is to educate the greater freight community about the possibilities autonomy has to offer. Driverless trucks have the potential to greatly enhance our daily lives in numerous ways. They can reduce shipping expenses, generate improved job opportunities for transportation and freight experts, and enable trucking companies to run their fleets with greater efficiency. With this innovative technology, our supply chains will reach unprecedented levels of dependability and performance. From heightened efficiency to the safety prospects, automated 18-wheelers are going to change our world for the better.