Freight News in Cartoons: June 17th Edition

Steele Roddick 2019-06-19 15:08:42
Steele Roddick on Jun 19 2019

In this week’s edition, Starsky abandons Hutch, new buzzwords get invented every day, and no one ever has to fear running out of beer again. To get future editions of Freight News in Cartoons sent directly to your inbox, subscribe here.

Where’s Starsky?

Wheres Starsky

Starsky Robotics has a new campaign out with the slogan: “The future of driverless trucks isn’t driverless. Here’s Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, Starsky’s chief executive and co-founder, explaining the vision:

“While others are trying to build fully autonomous trucks, we are building a truck that drives with no person in it and is remote-controlled for the first and last mile and that’s a completely different mindset. We are not eliminating drivers’ jobs. Instead, we are moving them from a truck to a safe and comfortable office where they utilize years of their long-haul trucking experience, but remain close to their families and go home between shifts.”

In related news, TuSimple, the self-driving truck startup, announced a partnership with Pima Community College to create the first ever “Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist” certificate to help truck drivers transition to a more automated future.

To round out the autonomous news, Apple is reportedly in the process of acquiring self-driving startup, mostly for their engineering talent, and BoxBot, yet another final-mile delivery startup, is officially testing their autonomous, electric delivery vehicles in northern California.

The Data is in on Buzzwords


Look, sometimes companies do new things and those new things need names. Here at Microdea we have ebooks about digitizing and automating your back office (which you should definitely check out) because we digitize and automate back-office work. A little bit of jargon is part of the game.

But seeing “dataism” (which seems to simply mean using data to make better decisions) in the headlines seems like a bit much. The use of eye-roll-worthy buzzwords is unfortunate because there really are many companies doing new, interesting, and potentially “game-changing” things.

Coord, which spun out of Alphabet Inc.’s Sidewalk Labs, is a startup that’s helping cities make better use of curbs through the collection, analysis and sharing of data. That’s a really cool and important project if you can make it past the jargon of digitizing curb space.

FreightWaves’ SONAR Critical Events view, which helps transportation and logistics companies respond to extreme weather events in real-time, seems extremely useful for making better supply chain decisions, if you can get past the language of the “democratization of data.”

As a good series in Fleet Owner makes clear, technology is changing the way carriers and logistics companies work together to move freight. We should all strive to use words that makes that as clear as day.

The Uberization of Beer


In a smattering of other news to round out the last couple weeks, Uber Freight delivered their first load in Europe, a truckload of Heineken. High driver pay increases may be leaving some fleets vulnerable to downswings in the spot market. FreightWaves’ John Paul Hampstead did a nice job comparing and contrasting a few economic models to shed light on how the freight economy will perform for the rest of the year. And FedEx made headlines after not renewing its air-freight contract with Amazon (which reportedly only represents 1.3% of FedEx’s revenue).

The game remains more or less the same, but how it’s played continues to evolve every day.


Steele Roddick

Steele Roddick is a Content Specialist at Microdea where he creates content that helps transportation companies drive their business forward. He’s endlessly fascinated by technology trends, chess, and discovering new places to travel with his wife.

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