The Future of Freight is Happening Now

Let's Talk Self-Driving

Waymo - Trucking for Millennials

The future of freight is happening now. That’s the premise of the Trucking for Millennials podcast, a lively weekly discussion hosted by Michael Clements and Aaron Dunn of Texas-based trucking company and freight brokerage PDQ America.

Offering a fresh perspective on the transportation industry, Trucking for Millennials focuses on what's happening within the industry today and how the next generation of trucking and logistics professionals are impacting the supply chain.

Waymo’s Matt Carroll, a product manager with extensive self-driving technology experience, was recently invited to join Michael and Aaron to discuss the evolution of automated trucking and how self-driving technology could help make the trucking industry even stronger.

Matt has been with Waymo for almost two years and works on truck behavior (how a self-driving truck responds to the environment around it) and redundancy (ensuring vehicles operate safely even in the event of failure). Matt also helps define and execute Waymo’s deployment model for putting self-driving trucks into practice.

Empowering the trucking industry, not disrupting it

“There is a shortfall of 60,000 drivers in the U.S. today, a gap that’s expected to grow over the decade to 160,000.”
– Matt Carroll, Waymo Product Manager

As owners of a trucking company and with a huge fan base of truckers, Michael and Aaron were keen to ask Matt about a chief misconception regarding self-driving vehicles: that automation will take truckers’ jobs away.

Matt explained: “Waymo’s goal is first and foremost to improve safety.” He pointed out that, in the U.S. alone, there are 4,000 deaths from heavy truck collisions each year. “Through our technology, we plan to make roads safer and to reduce that number substantially,” Matt emphasized.

Waymo also addresses another important challenge – a shortage of truck drivers.

“There is a shortfall of 60,000 drivers in the U.S. today, a gap that’s expected to grow over the decade to 160,000,” said Matt. “Our technology can help support this strain on the industry and help close that gap.”

With innovation comes new opportunities and jobs

“In Arizona, our test fleet alone has created hundreds of jobs for the local economy.”
– Matt Carroll, Waymo Product Manager

Matt also expressed his optimism at how Waymo technology could create new companies and new jobs in trucking as the company grows the automation industry overall. For example, new jobs could be created to help test and deploy self-driving systems. And there’s a precedent: Waymo’s fleet of self-driving vehicles in Arizona has already sparked job creation. 

“In Arizona, our test fleet alone has created hundreds of jobs for the local economy,” Matt pointed out.

Matt moved on to address other important questions from the Trucking for Millennials team and their listeners, such as:

  • How do small fleets compete with large fleets that may adopt this technology? Can smaller fleets grow in a different way?
  • How do Waymo self-driving trucks use machine learning to continuously improve the performance of its vehicles?
  • How is Waymo using data it collects and should other truck drivers be worried that it’s capturing data about them?
  • How does the weather impact performance and logistics?
  • When is this going to be running at scale and what does that look like?
  • How has COVID-19 influenced the world of autonomous vehicles?

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Stay informed on how self-driving cars have the potential to improve our lives.

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