TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Fiat Chrysler teams up with BMW, Intel — Nvidia invests in autonomous trucking startup — Drone delivery challenges


Welcome to Transportation & Logistics Briefing, a new
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digital technology is disrupting transportation and delivery,
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Fiat Chrysler joined a partnership between BMW and
Intel this week aimed at developing self-driving technology,
. Fiat Chrysler says that it plans to put a
self-driving car on the road by 2021 — a timeline similar to many
other automakers — and the consortium may allow the companies
involved to leverage each other’s technology and expertise to
meet that goal. 

The three companies said that their engineers will work
together in multiple locations around the world to jointly
develop sensors and software for self-driving cars.
partnerships are fast becoming standard practice across the
automotive industry. Just last week, Intel teamed up with Toyota
a consortium focused on self-driving and connected car
technologies. Fiat Chrysler also has a separate partnership with
Waymo, Google’s self-driving spinoff, to test its technology in
Chrysler Pacifica minivans. These alliances help carmakers and
technology providers share costs and accelerate the development
of self-driving technology.

In addition to these benefits, the alliance could allow
the companies to explore new business models enabled by self
driving technology:

  • The group plans to develop autonomous taxis that
    consumers could hail through a smartphone app,

    according to Reuters. The market for such robo-taxi services
    could reach $2 trillion by 2030, McKinsey forecasts. By cutting
    out the need to pay a driver, autonomous taxis could make cab
    rides so cheap that consumers will ditch car ownership as their
    primary means of daily transportation. That prospect is
    pushing car companies to explore how they can use autonomous
    technology to challenge Uber and Lyft in the ride-hailing
  • With the addition of Fiat Chrysler, the partnership
    could potentially bring its self-driving efforts into the
    trucking space as well.
    Fiat Chrysler has deep roots
    in the semi-truck manufacturing business in both Europe and
    North America, suggesting it could look to integrate any
    self-driving technology it develops for cars into its trucks
    too. That, in turn, could pave the way in the long run for an
    on-demand trucking service, similar to the ride-hailing
    concept, that allows shippers to book space in autonomous
    trucks for goods they need transported through an app.

Carmakers are still in early stages of exploring how
self-driving technology will impact their business
These companies need to hedge against the
possibility that the traditional car ownership model could be
upended by the arrival of self-driving cars. Ford, for example,
is looking into providing shuttle services and metered parking,
its CEO, Jim Hackett. If car companies don’t move
aggressively into experimenting with new services and business
models, they risk losing their place at the heart of consumer
transportation to the hundreds of
pouring into the automotive space.

Who Do You Trust Autonomous Cars? TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Fiat Chrysler teams up with BMW, Intel — Nvidia invests in autonomous trucking startup — Drone delivery challenges TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Fiat Chrysler teams up with BMW, Intel — Nvidia invests in autonomous trucking startup — Drone delivery challenges who 20do 20you 20trust 20autonomous 20carsBI

Prominent chipmaker Nvidia joined a new $20
million funding round for China-based autonomous trucking startup
TuSimple, Tech Crunch
. Nvidia is providing the two-year-old
startup with some of its technology, including graphics
processing chips and its Drive PX 2 computer, one of the foremost
computing solutions for self-driving cars in the industry today.

TuSimple completed a test this past June with a truck
that autonomously drove 200 miles between Yuma, Arizona and San
Diego, California.
Its self-driving software navigates
roads through a combination of high-definition mapping, radar
technology, and computer vision algorithms that process images
from eight cameras positioned around the truck. TuSimple’s CTO

that its software combined with Nvidia’s graphics and
computer processing technology will create “a world class
platform that will disrupt the freight industry.”

Nvidia is one of the leading companies in the
self-driving space, and has been moving aggressively into the
trucking space in the last few months.
The company has
already formed partnerships with several automakers, including
Toyota and Volvo, that use its technology in their testing and
development of self-driving cars. In March, it
a new partnership with truck manufacturer PACCAR and
tested a proof-of-concept vehicle using the Drive PX2 computer,
which Tesla also uses for its Autopilot program.

Self-driving technology has enormous potential to disrupt
the nearly $700 billion US trucking industry, but that disruption
will be gradual and occur in stages over the coming
The trucking industry faces a growing
of truckers, and self-driving trucks could fill that
void while reducing labor and fuel costs. However, fully
autonomous trucks are still a long way from hitting the road. In
an upcoming report, BI Intelligence will outline the progression
of self-driving trucking, from early driver-assist and “platooning”
systems that will take hold in the next few years to semi- and
then fully-autonomous trucks in the coming decades.

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A slew of companies around the world,
including Amazon and Alphabet, have been testing drone deliveries
in recent years. However, it will be years before these
companies’ plans come to fruition, as major technology and
regulatory barriers still need to be overcome before commercial
drone delivery goes mainstream, a feature
in Tech Crunch points out.

  • Chief among these barriers is the need for an air
    traffic control system that could track and manage large
    numbers of drones delivering packages to businesses and
    This is both a technical and regulatory
    challenge, as regulatory authorities won’t legalize commercial
    drone delivery until such a system is developed, Tech Crunch
    noted. NASA has been working on a system in the US and
    tests earlier this summer in conjunction with the
    FAA and various private companies. Amazon is also
    its own air traffic control system for drones at
    a research center in Paris, France. However, these systems,
    which will play an important role in preventing crashes or
    flights into unauthorized airspace, are still many years away
    from launch.
  • Companies haven’t figured out how to safely drop off
    packages by drone to customers’ homes while
    avoiding damage or theft.
     Amazon, for one,
    is exploring multiple delivery methods. In its

    in the UK, Amazon’s drones land at designated
    locations on customers’ properties. However, the company has
    also filed a
    that suggests it may look into dropping packages by
  • Lastly, drones still have to earn the trust of
    regulators and consumers by proving they are safe and
    That will require more testing, and an
    openness on the part of delivery companies to work with
    regulators by sharing data and conducting audits. Earning
    consumers’ trust will probably take more time and effort to
    allay concerns about privacy and safety when drones are flying
    over their property.

In a
released earlier this year, BI Intelligence predicted
that these various challenges will delay the commercial launch of
drone delivery programs until after 2020.
However, this
delay will not dissuade companies from continuing to develop
delivery drones. The benefits that drones can offer in automating
the last mile of delivery — the final and most expensive part of
the delivery process when the package reaches the customer’s
doorstep — are simply too large to ignore.

Drone Delivery Consumer TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Fiat Chrysler teams up with BMW, Intel — Nvidia invests in autonomous trucking startup — Drone delivery challenges TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Fiat Chrysler teams up with BMW, Intel — Nvidia invests in autonomous trucking startup — Drone delivery challenges drone 20delivery 20consumer


In other news…

  • Ford
    a patent for a system that allows drivers to remove
    the steering wheel and pedals from a self-driving car.

    Most self-driving cars used in tests today have steering wheels
    and pedals that fold back into the vehicle’s dashboard. Ford’s
    system takes a seemingly easier approach by allowing customers
    to simply remove the steering wheel and pedals when they don’t
    want to use them, and shows that Ford is already thinking ahead
    to when cars reach the final level of full autonomy and no
    longer require driving instruments.
  • Earlier this week, the American Trucking Association

    that the trucking industry generated $676.2
    billion in revenue last year,
    down 4% from $704.3
    billion in 2015. The total amount of cargo moved by the
    industry actually increased from 10.17 billion tons in 2015 to
    10.42 billion in 2016, but a rate war sparked by growing
    competition in the industry depressed total revenue. 
  • Already troubled by a spate of recent scandals and ongoing
    controversy over the departure of its former CEO, Uber
    now has to
    to 20 years of privacy audits by outside parties
    following a new settlement reached this week with the
    Federal Trade Commission.
    In its settlement, the FTC
    said that Uber failed to ensure that its employees did not
    access the private data of its customers and drivers, despite
    the company’s public assurances that it would do so. This
    failure resulted in employees using an internal
    , dubbed “God’s View,” to track the accounts of
    individual users, including politicians and celebrities. 

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