The move to intermodal and self driving trucks is heating up

Last month’s report from the Association of American Railroads shows carloads at 1,065,777, off 0.1%, but intermodal set a new monthly record with a 6.4% annual gain to 1,144,157. 
 
While self-driving trucks are some distance away, more details are emerging about the transition:  
  1. Add anti-collision features – the 7,000-plus trucks owned by US Xpress have been updated with autonomous braking and collision-avoidance systems
  2. Add automated lane steering – this is likely to be in the US Xpress fleet in three years
  3. Platooning – hitching trucks together  wirelessly to draft over long distances 
  4. Autonomous highway travel – with local delivery being handled by a human
“One of the big misconceptions about self-driving technology is that it is going to emerge and be able to drive all the time in all circumstances,” said Alden Woodrow, the product manager for Uber’s self-driving truck unit.
 
A very interesting development:  TransRisk logs millions of transactions and other market data to help trucking companies predict prices along with future supply and demand.  The ultimate spot pricing can develop from this…TransRisk’s founder is the son of the founder of US Xpress and has already secured $3.4 million in financing.  We have talked about predicatively determining where trucks will be over the next days for some time – and floated it with a number of CPG companies – who showed little interest…so we dropped it!