Autonomous Trucking CEO Predicts Revolution in Freight Transportation
The CEO of a firm focused on autonomous trucking believes that a significant transformation is on the horizon for the sector. Junqing Wei, the chief of KargoBot, spoke at HaberTusba’s East Tech West conference in China and stated that his company aims to revolutionize freight transportation by combining human expertise with technology.
KargoBot, which was incubated by Didi, a Chinese ride-sharing powerhouse, has already deployed over 100 autonomous driving trucks on the roads, primarily in Inner Mongolia. These trucks are not only driving automatically but also delivering goods commercially.
With the logistics market valued at over $1 trillion, KargoBot focuses on the delivery of raw materials for manufacturers and factories.
Opportunities and Challenges
Wei shared insights from operations in Inner Mongolia, highlighting the suitability of autonomous driving in the region due to long routes with a high frequency of truck traffic. Additionally, the rural nature of the area reduces the complexity of pedestrian crossings and vulnerable road users.
Navigating Challenges: Sheep, Dust, and Toll Stations
Despite these advantages, Wei acknowledged the challenges faced by autonomous trucks, such as herds of sheep and excessive dust affecting visibility. Toll stations also present difficulties, as a self-driving truck stuck at a toll station can cause major disruptions. To address these issues, KargoBot developed a “hybrid driverless solution” that combines technology and human guidance.
Combining Technology and Human Intelligence
KargoBot’s system operates by grouping Level 4 autonomous trucks together and assigning a human driver to the leading truck. This approach allows for the commercial operation of over 100 trucks in Inner Mongolia. Wei emphasized that the goal of self-driving technology should be to augment human capabilities rather than completely replacing human drivers or operators.