Locomation, an autonomous trucking startup headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today revealed it successfully completed its first on-road pilot transporting commercial freight. In partnership with risk management consultancy Aon and Wilson Logistics, a Springfield, Missouri-based transportation logistics company, Locomation deployed two trucks hauling trailers in a driverless convoy on a 420-mile-long route stretching from Portland to Nampa, Idaho along I-84.
Some experts predict the coronavirus outbreak will hasten the adoption of autonomous delivery solutions like Locomation’s. A study published by CarGurus found that 39% of people won’t use manually driven ride-sharing services post-pandemic for fear of insufficient sanitation. Despite the public’s misgivings about self-driving cars and their need for regular disinfection, they promise to minimize the risk of spreading disease because they inherently limit driver-rider contact.
During the eight-day pilot, Locomation-retrofitted trucks covered approximately 3,400 miles and operated autonomously roughly half of the time, delivering 14 commercial loads. At all times during the trips, each truck was staffed with a trained driver and a safety engineer tasked with monitoring vehicle and autonomous system performance, collecting more than “two dozen” key performance indicators.