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Locomotion Video Transcript

Annc2

Demands for goods and capacity enhancements are contributing to increased poor authority at Savannah, the Terminal at Garden City has achieved container records in nine of the past ten months, my friend.

Annc1

That is that is wow, that’s astounding, it really is. You wanna talk about autonomous trucks and what they may be able to do?

Annc2

I love talking about autonomous trucks, well absolutely Locomation trucking technology, right. We we talked about how we can re-engineer supply chain and save some profit but it can also save the environment we have a great guest right now it’s Finch Fulton he’s the VP of Policy and Strategy and he brings us a unique window into the world because he had this great experience of working under Secretary Elaine Chao from 2017 to 2021 at the US Department of Transportation dealing with issues like unmanned vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and all of that kind of thing. So let’s bring them up now and get some context for all this. Hey brother, what’s happening?

Finch Fulton

Hey hey y’all doing good. Thanks for having me.

Annc2

Hey tell us what does someone do like in that position? I’ve always been curious because you hear about the dot and you hear about you know the big black box of the government and what goes on what did a gentleman like you do over there?

Finch Fulton

So it was fascinating because I’m relatively young for the position I had but because we’re working with all these new innovative technologies no one knew all the answers yet. So in this case it was a lot of process bringing people in the room trying to figure out what all the problems are trying to solve are and trying to get the ground truth of what needs to be done to get the outcomes that we want improve safety, better efficiency, better economic impact for the country, and making sure that America wins in the development of this technology. So it was fascinating.

Annc1

I bet it was and I bet you got a lot of insight across the board as to all the different aspects and hurdles and issues that are out there to solve things to bring on board to Locomation right?

Finch Fulton

Oh yeah absolutely, one of the final projects we did was looking at all the different use cases for autonomous vehicles and all the federal rules and research and everything that applies to it so you know when one of your last jobs is looking at the numbers and the regulations for what makes sense and what the country’s going to do it you very quickly look at long-haul trucking as an area where automation makes a lot of sense and can do a lot to improve safety and efficiency and reduce emissions and can do a lot for the American economy and the American workers, so it was sort of a commonsensical thing a very easy step to take to say this is where it makes sense to go now.

Annc2

Yeah so now you’re over at Locomation and I was reading an article with you and you were talking about these environmental impacts and you were outlining some way is that, I mean, some seem sort of obvious. some were not as obvious, but let’s go through them because when we think about autonomous you know we think about maybe solving a driver shortage we think about solving capacity issues but we don’t always think about sustainability that’s usually leftover to like the EV side of it. Do let’s bridge those two two things together. Set the table for us.

Finch Fulton

Yeah well so clearly with the current administration this is their one of their top priorities they want to look at and you guys know a lot of the big level stats. 72% percent of all goods shipped in the country are by truck, an additional 14% are courier services which use trucks, and this is a 800 billion dollar market, 670 billion for long haul trucking alone in the US, but when you look at some of the environmental impacts, you know 28% of the total greenhouse gases are due to trucking. Heavy-duty trucks account for 23% of that and then even just with fuel use and cost savings and this may be something that you know some of the drivers care more about. 26% of the fuel used on US highways come from the medium heavy heavy duty trucks and that represents about 25 to 40 percent of the total cost for a trucker. So there’s a lot of very basic things that if you just think about the way autonomous trucks are going to be used. You see what the real world impacts are. You know a truck traveling at 75 miles per hour consumes 27% more fuel than one going at 65 miles per hour. So not only do you have systems that wouldn’t speed you remove the incentives to beat the clock around hours of service. Even with a human-centric convoy like ours, you know you have a lot more control over the time and you’re not rushing to beat the clock all the time. So you can manage that fuel burn, you know being able to have better control over the schedule means you can drive during off-peak times which saves an additional 11 percent. You know the speed smoothing and speed limiting is a 10% average fuel efficiency gain per truck. And then some of the other things that people haven’t been considering you know truck drivers spend 56 minutes a day searching for parking. When you have a team driving situation where you’re incorporating these autonomous machines in the convoy in addition to the human drivers that reduces that 56 minutes a day looking for parking because they’re just getting to their destination. And then, when you’re looking at not having to park and idle that’s an additional you know three thousand dollars a year in fuel costs or 1200 gallons in fuel that’s that’s just avoided entirely because you’re not sitting in a parking lot in Texas running your ac in the summer or up north in the winter running your heater. That saves you know that’s that three thousand dollars a year saved in cost. And then, with our system of course, when you have these linked convoys or platoons these two truck platoons you get an additional eight percent fuel efficiency. So what we’re seeing is you know overall this is an 18% reduction just in fuel costs which is 86 metric tons per vehicle per year in a convoy that’s huge. I mean just our first two customers alone with the 2120 trucks that’s the equivalent of removing 39 000 passenger vehicles from the road every year. Now someday when we sell all of our trucks and get the total market that’ll be the equivalent of removing 4.5 million passenger vehicles in the road in terms of emissions reduced. So you know we got to be working with everybody, we got to make sure that we’re selling people on the fuel savings because that’s you know what I think truck drivers and carriers and shippers care about, but also when you’re looking at you know people trying to make an impact on a greenhouse gas emissions and everything that we need to see to have better environmental outcomes, you know, this has huge impacts you know this can make a big difference as we look to what the future uh brings. This is ways we can bring technology in today to solve for some of those things. So it’s pretty exciting, and it can make a big impact.

Annc1

It certainly can and those sound like it almost sounds like I’m going through this and I’m listening to the list, and some of them there I didn’t I never thought of. Right, like the idling and stuff, like that, and also parked, sleeping, right but these are the low hanging fruit almost, right? I mean isn’t there more to be said there as far as if it’s an automated vehicle it drives better like you said the speed the acceleration and changes and that type of stuff better driving feathering the pedal etc. Right doesn’t that reduce maintenance as well which also can reduce carbon footprint and also the need for more and more tractors etc. The production of more tractors, the solving of capacity.

Finch Fulton

So to speak yeah, and I mean as you’re looking at the increase in the amount of freight demand going up in the us and the increased expectations on speed you’re looking at a huge amount of pressure on the truck drivers that are there today, and we’ve talked about the truck driver shortage but you know incorporating a human-centric point of view also means that we can have better outcomes for the truck drivers themselves, in quality of life. We’re not talking about people losing their jobs, we’re talking about people being able to use these technologies to augment their jobs and if it’s improving safety, if they’re carrying twice the load, twice as far, twice as fast, you know while following all the speed limits and everything. And if they were to get back to their home base every night, you’re talking about ways to keep the experienced drivers with the companies. You’re talking about experienced drivers staying on longer. You talked about the positive numbers around the amount of time truck drivers stay in but you’re still looking at over 100% turnover for a lot of companies going through truck drivers every year and so if we can solve for some of those things that truck drivers are feeling you’re getting truck drivers that stay around longer so they can have you know they are safer better records. They can handle some of these maintenance issues you know with basic experience. If you can keep truckers longer they can handle a lot of things that you know somebody that understands what they’re doing on the road you keep them around longer you get all sorts of benefits. So this is sort of a way to incorporate technology to solve many problems at once and not just kick the truck driver out of the system they can use this technology to have better outcomes and I mean we’re talking about with the amount of demand we’ve got in the country there’s going to be a role for truck drivers for a long long time to come. If you’re a truck driver today you’re going to be able to retire as a truck driver.

Annc2

Hey finch tell me something so you and you kind of know the temperature over at the DOT. You were there. So when they hear a company like Locomation talking about these autonomous convoys and what they can do for the environment is that they receive that with cynicism? Is it with excitement? Like what is the viewpoint over at the DOT?

Finch Fulton

I’d say obviously you have all the career staff there’s 55 000 people at the US Department of Transportation there’s about 100-120 politicals or non-careers. So you know the majority of people are still there. But even in talking to the new team there and they got a lot of good people there. I’ll admit they are interested in the safety outcomes for what this can bring. They are interested in what this can mean for the environment and the emissions. They are interested in the US beating China in the development of this technology. You know if we don’t, if we don’t embrace this technology and bring it in to work with humans, Chinese companies will come in and replace our drivers. You know they don’t have any qualms about the American worker so they’re interested in these things. But they’re rightfully skeptical still of companies having to prove the safety, and so you have to go through these processes, and you have to make sure you make the safety case and we’re in the middle of doing that. Before you deploy you have to be able to take these steps and so it’s okay for them to be skeptical on these things until you can prove it on the road. As you’re looking at these pilots and demonstrations to get down the road to deployments. So they are justifiably skeptical until proven otherwise but they’re good relationships and you know we’re engaging in some of the US DOT initiatives around, you know, information sharing, data sharing, shared safety outcomes, and you know we’re also working with the department of energy and EPA and some of the other federal agencies to make sure they have all the information they need around the fuel efficiency and the potential for electrification or hydrogen-powered vehicles in the future. So it’s one big complex ecosystem but it’s super interesting and there are a lot of great impacts that it can mean for the drivers and for the country.

Annc2

Our convoy has come to a close, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, we are out of time but people who want more information about this Finch or they want to continue the conversation with you where should i send them to?

Finch Fulton

You can send them to Locomation.ai or you can find me at t finch f on twitter so at t finch f on Twitter.

Annc2

nice man find me at timothy doing all connect with you after the show thanks finch we appreciate your time today I’ll do it yeah sweet thank you all for having me thank you.

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