Trucking is the backbone of the American economy, moving 70% of all freight. However, due to the estimated 60,000 driver shortage of ATA, many trucking companies are struggling to find drivers to keep up with demand. But two businesses have come up with a solution.
The traditional freight flow has been automated by Loadsmart, a digital freight broker specializing in full truck shipping, and Starsky Robotics, an autonomous truck startup that aims to make roads safer and allow truck drivers to work closer to home.
They were able to dispatch an autonomous truck to carry freight automatically; successfully priced, tendered, and booked via Loadsmart and then picked up and delivered the shipment using Starsky’s self-driving technology.
Integrating Loadsmart’s AI-powered pricing and load matching technology with Starsky’s API meant that no human intervention was required. The historic initiative is part of a more extensive strategic partnership that paves the way for the future of trucking: autonomous brokerages dispatching freight to autonomous trucks without human involvement.
Loadsmart was able to connect its customer network 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 can dispatch its vehicles automatically without human intervention, while Loadsmart can expand its ability to automate the shipping process from quoting to booking.
“Today, for the first time ever, the advances that seem obvious for the ride-sharing services are coming to trucking,” said Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, CEO and founder of Starsky Robotics. “It is not uncommon for a traditional trucking company to have five full-time employees involved in shipping each truck for each load. By integrating e-brokers like Loadsmart, we eliminate all back-office human intervention and make the shipment process seamless, while focusing on ensuring the safety of driverless trucks. With Starsky’s Hutch API, which was also announced today, we will be able to dispatch autonomous loads regularly.”
Ricardo Salgado, CEO, Loadsmart, said, “Autonomous vehicles play an integral role in our vision to deliver 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 be of great value; the team will help us to be at the forefront of providing our customers with access to cutting-edge technology so that they can advance their supply chain.”
Paul Schlegel, Director of Trucking Operations at Starsky Robotics, said: “We are building a trucking company at Starsky to support and enable our autonomous trucks. In my 33-year trucking career, I had to build large infrastructure in planning and in-house sales organizations so that our drivers and trucks could be properly utilized. By partnering with Loadsmart, we have been able to allow our driver managers to spend more time making sure drivers are happy and spend significantly less time negotiating with brokers.”
“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 particular truck. We are moving from a world of load-to-truck to a world of truck-to-load. Carriers will benefit from this feature by keeping their trucks full days ahead of time,” said Hunter Yaw, VP of product, Loadsmart.