Autonomous truck developer Starsky Robotics and digital freight broker Loadsmart have collaborated to complete the first-ever automated dispatch and delivery of goods by a self-driving vehicle without any human involvement in the logistics chain.
Loadsmart and Starsky Robotics were able to automatically dispatch an autonomous truck to haul freight; having successfully priced, tendered and booked via the Loadsmart platform and then picked up and delivered the shipment using Starsky’s self-driving technology. The integration of Loadsmart’s AI-powered (artificial intelligence) pricing and load matching technology with Starsky’s API (application programming interface) meant no human intervention was required. The historic initiative is part of a larger strategic partnership which paves the way for the future of trucking: autonomous brokerages dispatching freight to autonomous trucks without human involvement in the process.
Trucking is the backbone of the USA’s economy, moving 70% of all freight. However, because of the ATA’s (American Trucking Organizations) estimated 60,000 driver shortage, many haulage companies are struggling to find drivers to keep up with demand. Having a solution that automates the traditional freight flow will help them achieve the scale. Loadsmart was able to connect their network of customers with Starsky’s fleet of regular and self-driving trucks by integrating Loadsmart’s Automated Dispatch API with Starsky’s Hutch API.
As a result of the partnership, Starsky is able to dispatch its trucks automatically without human intervention, while Loadsmart can expand its ability to automate the shipping process from quoting, booking to delivery to help its clients move more with less. Starsky began moving freight on the highway in early 2017, and one year later became the first company to take the safety driver out of a truck when it drove fully unmanned for 7 miles (11km) on a closed road in Florida. In June 2019, Starsky completed the first ever fully-unmanned test on a public highway with live traffic.
“For the first time ever, the advances that seem obvious for the ride-sharing services are coming to trucking,” said Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, Starsky’s CEO and founder. “It’s not uncommon for a traditional trucking company to have five full-time employees involved in dispatching each truck for each load. By integrating e-brokers like Loadsmart, we are eliminating all back office human intervention and making the shipment process seamless, while focusing on ensuring the safety of driverless trucks. With our Hutch API, we will be able to autonomously dispatch autonomous loads on a regular basis.”
Loadsmart’s CEO, Ricardo Salgado, said, “Autonomous vehicles play an integral role in our vision of delivering end-to-end automated shipping and logistics services. Starsky is one of the leading developers of autonomous trucking technology and given our belief that autonomous trucks will provide great value; the team will help us be at the forefront of providing our clients with access to cutting edge technology so they can advance their supply chain.”
Hunter Yaw, VP of product at Loadsmart, added, “Our ability to connect shipper demand with autonomous capacity will turn the industry on its head; knowing when and where a truck is available and where it wants to go will automatically trigger our TMS integration to price and book the best load for that specific truck.”