Transportation Outlook – June 2018

Posted by Brett Hersley

Hello ADL customers, and welcome to the hot, sticky, summer months in Texas. It is hard to believe that we are almost half way through 2018 and finishing up the second quarter this month.  Once again, we would like to thank all of our amazing customers for the business and the partnerships we continue to grow in 2018.

In our past newsletters, we have talked about capacity in the industry, the rollout of new ELD’s in 2018, produce season in the south, some of the new tracking technology that we have at ADL, and the rising health insurance costs for the trucking industry as a whole. One of the exciting new topics in the industry that many of our customers have been asking us about is, “How close do you think we are to self-driving trucks on the road?”. The simple answer is, we are already there on a very small scale.

How close are we to self-driving trucks on the road?

USA Today recently released a story about the self-driving truck OTTO, and it teaming up with Anheuser-Busch to deliver a load over 120 miles from Fort Collins down to Pikes Peak. The driver observed most of the trip from the sleeper cab in the back of the truck, but did take over driving in heavy populated areas and major traffic locations along the way. OTTO was purchased by Uber for $670 million, and continues to conduct testing for self-driving trucks and cars around the US.

The trucking industry remains extremely concerned about this technology being able to decipher every road emergency and the danger of having a driver resting or let alone sleeping while a truck is at highway speeds carrying 80,000 pounds. The first fatality with an autonomous Uber car happened in March of 2018 in Tempe Arizona, when a pedestrian was struck while crossing the street. After this accident, Uber suspended the program until further investigation. Understanding that the technology is here today is one thing, but making sure the technology is further tested before putting lives in danger is another. What if this would have been an 18-wheeler slamming into a school bus? Many attorneys believe that we are still at least a decade away from any type of real autonomous trucks operating on our highways.

Five topics that continue to be roadblocks for the autonomous, self-driving industry

  1. Traffic Management – More people will invest in AV vehicles in order to catch up on social media, work projects, etc., and abandon the city transportation methods used currently today. This would overload the city streets with more vehicles.
  2. Infrastructure – AV’s need extremely clear lane striping on roads and parking lots in order to comply with safe travel patterns. This is something that many of our city streets don’t have or need to be re-painted. Parking garages and poor lit areas are also a major safety concern.
  3. Revenue Generation – AV’s will not typically run red lights, speed down the highway, illegally change lanes, or over stay at parking meters in the city.  This will drastically impact city budgets around the US with nearly 5% of revenue being produced from traffic violations.
  4. Insurance Liability – This is considered to be the murkiest of areas for the AV industry. How will insurance companies cover software malfunctions that result in traffic accidents, injuries, or even fatalities? Causing insurance rates to potentially skyrocket.
  5. Police and Emergency Response Teams – This is a huge concern for Law Enforcement when it comes to AV’s being used for drug trafficking, transporting explosive devices, etc. How will officers be able to stop or shutdown these units from a distance automatically?

As you can see, there are still many factors involved in the evolution of AV’s on the road, but no doubt it is approaching quickly.

We’re continuing to grow…

Earlier this month, American Diamond moved into our beautiful new office in Roanoke, Texas. We’re located in the heart of downtown off Oak Street near lots of great shops and restaurants. We’d love to have you stop by to see our new space and meet the team. We’re located at:

409 Oak Street, Suite 200 | Roanoke, Texas 76262


Employee Spotlight: Corey Eaton

Corey joined the ADL family in February of 2017 as a Regional Sales Manager. Over the past 10 years, Corey has worked for several of the top freight carriers Averitt Express and YRC.

Corey prides himself on customer service and goes above and beyond the call to make sure that all his customers are cared for. One of his strongest suits is the ability to work under pressure and find the best solution to fit the needs of each one of his unique clients.

When he’s not working, Corey enjoys watching Texas Rangers baseball, spending time with his wife Jen and the coolest kid ever, Hudson.

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