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Monday, December 5, 2022

Does Driverless Mean Driverless?


A three-year-old startup, Starsky Robotics, is developing autonomous trucks that have remote capabilities.

Co-founder and Chief Executive, Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, differentiates the company by saying that instead of focusing on a fully driverless truck, he hopes to pair a “unique combination of human decision-making and automation.”

Seltz-Axmacher continued to explain how their technology will be a benefit for truckers by saying, “While others are trying to build fully autonomous trucks, we are building a truck that drives with no person in it and is remote-controlled for the first and last mile and that’s a completely different mindset. We are not eliminating drivers’ jobs. Instead, we are moving them from a truck to a safe and comfortable office where they utilize years of their long-haul trucking experience, but remain close to their families and go home between shifts”

Currently, the company operates a fleet of over-the-road trucks to support its automation growth and identify qualified drivers to test out the remote program.

Seltz-Axamacher also sees Starsky Robotics solving longstanding problems in the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Association states that the large fleet turnover rate was at 89% in 2018, an increase of 2% from the previous year.

“A huge problem in trucking in North America is that it’s really hard to get people to spend a month at a time on the road,” Seltz-Axmacher said.

The company also believes they can make trucking a more appealing career.

Seltz-Axmacher spoke to the deep personal sacrifices that currently need to be made by truckers and “making driving an office job uniquely solves the long-haul trucking problem…we’ve found that most would love to come home to their family after a long day.”