Truck Industry Tech

Using online platforms, autonomy, electric and fuel-cell tech solutions to shape the future of trucking.

Overview

Tools and technologies shaping the future of trucking

Truck industry tech players are introducing next-generation technologies and tools, collectively referred to as “Truck Industry Tech,” comprising route planning and freight management apps, driving assist platforms, autonomous trucks, and electric and fuel cell truck components.

These tech solutions aim to shape the future of the truck industry by improving road safety and fuel efficiency while moving traditional freight matching and route planning online, providing convenience and cost savings for truck drivers, fleets, and shippers. The Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and camera technologies have become essential to fueling the industry’s advancements.

Route planning, online freight matching platforms, and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 1 autonomous technology are in the commercial stage, whereas autonomous trucks (SAE level 4 and 5) and electric and fuel cell trucks are still at the pre-commercial stages.

What's driving this industry?

Industry Updates

NEXT Trucking appoints new CPO and CTO
Sep 23
Aurora partners with PACCAR and FedEx to launch autonomous truck commercial pilot
Sep 22
project44 acquires last-mile delivery tech company Convey
Sep 21
View all updates
Market Sizing

The combined market for autonomous trucks, electric trucks, and digital freight platforms in the US could reach USD 31 billion–USD 52 billion by 2030

Conservative case

USD 31.0 Bn

Base case

USD 41.6 Bn

Expansion case

USD 52.3 Bn

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COVID-19 IMPACT

  • Autonomous trucks and technological advancements in the industry have come into the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing possible solutions to several issues within the sector, including driver shortages and bottlenecks in supply chain logistics. 

  • The closing of state borders and manufacturing plants resulted in various industry-related issues, leading to layoffs for some businesses (ex: Kodiak Robotics, KeepTruckin).

  • Trucking apps, including Transflo, Trucker Tools, and Drivewyze, introduced new tools and features to safeguard driver health and keep supply chains moving during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Market Mapping

The trucking tech industry is dominated by incumbents, especially in route planning software, driving and safety assist tools, and autonomous trucks. In contrast, startups hold a notable presence in freight matching and tracking platforms, likely influenced by the success of the digital ride-hailing and hospitality industries. Despite being relatively capital-intensive, the autonomous trucks segment also has a high presence of startups as costs of autonomous technology have decreased due to the boom in the self-driving vehicles industry. For example, Waymo managed to bring its Laser Bear Honeycomb LiDAR prices down by around 90% to roughly USD 7,500 by 2019 from the industry norm of USD 75,000 a few years before.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre seed
Autonomous trucks
?
Driving and safety assist tools
?
Electric and fuel cell trucks
?
Route planning platforms
?
Online freight platforms
?
Post.Bid.Ship
Post.Bid.Ship
Post.Bid.Ship
Post.Bid.Ship
Post.Bid.Ship
Tesla (Semi)
Google Waymo
Daimler
Volvo
Scania
Hyundai (Xcient)
Paccar
TuSimple
Gatik
Peloton Technology
Nuro (Ike)
Plus
Einride
Embark Trucks
Locomation
Kodiak Robotics
Pronto.ai
Aurora Innovation
REE Automotive
NuPort Robotics
Vivify Trucks
Tesla (Semi)
Google Waymo
Daimler
Volvo
Scania
LeddarTech
ZF Group
Intel (Mobileye)
Paccar
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems
Safe Drive Systems
NetraDyne
Peloton Technology
Voysys
Aurora Innovation
VehWare
Daimler
Volvo
Toyota Motor North America
Hyundai (Xcient)
Nikola Motor Company
Hyzon Motors
Volta Trucks
Bollinger Motors
TravelCenters of America
Love's Travel Stops
Renren
Rand McNally
Trimble MAPS
PTV Group (PTV Navigator)
Direct Freight Services
Zonar
Transflo
ASG (Trucker Tools)
Drivewyze
TruckPark
Road Hunter
Sygic
TruckBook
Truckbubba
Toggle
Renren
Direct Freight Services
Zonar
Transflo
Geotab
Uber Freight
ASG (Trucker Tools)
Convoy
KeepTruckin
project44
Sennder
Transfix
NEXT Trucking
InstaFreight
NetraDyne
Loadsmart
Cargomatic
Shipwell
CloudTrucks
SmartHop
Post.Bid.Ship
Transmetrics
Cargobot
Doft
TNX Logistics
LoadExpress
Truckbubba
Preteckt
Haul
Toggle
Optimise Logistics

The Disruptors

Prominent startups focusing on autonomous trucks yet to reach full commercialization

The most prominent disruptors in the industry come from the autonomous trucks segment (collective funds raised to date over USD 4 billion), despite these companies still not reaching full commercial scale. Aurora Innovation and TuSimple are considered the segment leaders, having raised USD 1.1 billion and USD 648 million, respectively, and reaching unicorn status in 2019. Nuro is also included in this segment, raising more than USD 1.5 billion in funding; however, the company is primarily involved in last-mile delivery automation with only a limited presence in the autonomous trucks industry.

Most disruptors operate in the online freight platforms segment, raising more than USD 2 billion in funding collectively. These companies have reached commercial-scale operations, with the majority operating in early or growth stages. Convoy is the highest-funded company in the space, raising USD 666 million as of March 2021 (reaching unicorn status in 2018). KeepTruckin and Germany-based Sennder are other prominent trucking app startups, both having raised more than USD 200 million as of March 2021.

The industry also includes several companies that have been listed or propose to be listed via special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), including 1) Nikola, an electric and fuel cell truck manufacturer that was listed in June 2020 at a post-money valuation of USD 3.3 billion; 2) Ree Automotive, an autonomous truck manufacturer listed in July 2021 through a SPAC at a valuation of USD 3.6 billion; 3) Hyzon, a hydrogen fuel cell truck manufacturer listed in July 2021 through a merger with a SPAC at a valuation of USD 2.7 billion; 4) Einride, an autonomous truck operator that announced it is looking for IPO opportunities via a SPAC in March 2021; 5) Plus, an autonomous truck manufacturer that announced its plans to be listed through a SPAC at a valuation of USD 3.3 billion in May 2021; 6) Embark Trucks, an autonomous truck manufacturer that announced its plans go public through a SPAC merger at a valuation of USD 5.2 billion in June 2021; and 7) Aurora Innovation, an autonomous truck manufacturer that announced its plans to publicly list through a SPAC merger at a valuation of USD 13 billion in July 2021. The autonomous truck operator TuSimple also filed for an IPO in March 2021.

Autonomous trucks

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
TuSimple
Public - Market cap USD 8.0 bn
REE Automotive
Public - Market cap USD 1.7 bn
Aurora Innovation
1090
Plus
520
Einride
152
Gatik
122
Embark Trucks
117
Peloton Technology
78
Locomation
63
Kodiak Robotics
40
Watchlist
?
Nuro (Ike)
NuPort Robotics
Pronto.ai
Vivify Trucks

Driving and safety assist tools

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Aurora Innovation
1090
NetraDyne
198
Peloton Technology
78
Safe Drive Systems
Unknown
Watchlist
?
VehWare
Voysys

Electric and fuel cell trucks

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Nikola Motor Company
Public - Market cap USD 4.6 bn
Hyzon Motors
Public - Market cap USD 2.3 bn
Volta Trucks
69
Watchlist
?
Bollinger Motors

Route planning platforms

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Drivewyze
83
Watchlist
?
Toggle
TruckPark
Road Hunter
Sygic
TruckBook
Truckbubba

Online freight platforms

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Convoy
676
KeepTruckin
417
project44
398
Sennder
340
NetraDyne
198
Loadsmart
146
Transfix
129
NEXT Trucking
124
Cargomatic
56
Shipwell
47
InstaFreight
35
CloudTrucks
27
SmartHop
17
Watchlist
?
Preteckt
Post.Bid.Ship
Transmetrics
Cargobot
Haul
Toggle
Doft
Truckbubba
TNX Logistics
LoadExpress
Optimise Logistics

TuSimple

TuSimple, listed on Nasdaq since April 2021, outfits trucks with sensors and processing units for Level 4 autonomous conversions (fully autonomous vehicles limited to specific locations and/or conditions). Its technology uses AI, LiDAR, radar, and an HD camera system to achieve 360-degree awareness, 30 seconds ahead and 1,000 meters away event recognition, and functionality in the dark or in bad weather. The trucks are built in partnership with truck OEMs Navistar and TRATON (a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group). TuSimple began testing on public roads in 2018, first in Arizona and Shanghai. The company later expanded operations to include Texas, Beijing, and Sweden. As of June 2021, the company operated a fleet of roughly 70 trucks and reported to have driven 4.6 million safe miles, envisioning fully autonomous road testing by the end of 2021.

In July 2020, TuSimple announced plans for an autonomous freight network (AFN) to expand the shipment business of its 22 contracted customers (which include UPS and McLane) as well as to acquire new ones (ex: U.S. Xpress). In July 2020, TuSimple and Navistar announced a further collaboration to develop a semi-truck with autonomous capabilities for a 2024 commercialization. Navistar also invested an undisclosed amount in TuSimple at that time.

In July 2020 the company announced plans to expand routes in the Texas triangle of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio through 2021 (opened a new facility in Dallas-Fort Worth in June 2021); add routes between Los Angeles, California and Jacksonville, Florida by 2023; and start shipping nationwide by 2024. As of June 2021, the company had secured 6,675 reservations for its trucks from shippers, carriers, and truck lessors including Penske, Schneider, and U.S. Xpress. TuSimple also partnered with fleet management solutions provider Ryder System in July 2021, to utilize Ryder’s selected fleet maintenance facilities as terminals for the nationwide expansion.

In addition to its autonomous trucks, the company also has developed a proprietary automotive-grade camera and vision system that can be installed into its autonomous trucks. The system is capable of night and low light autonomous operations. The company operates under two business models 1) a carrier-owned capacity model for fleets to purchase autonomous trucks directly and subscribe to TuSimple Path for a roughly USD 0.35 per mile fee, which enables autonomous operations across the AFN; and 2) the TuSimple capacity model for fleets to access autonomous trucks owned and operated by TuSimple and pay around USD 1.45 per mile.

For the year ended December 2020, the company posted revenue of USD 1.8 million, up by 160% year-over-year (YoY). However, TuSimple has yet to turn a profit and reported an operating loss of USD 177.9 million in 2020, more than double the loss incurred in 2019. Company guidance for 2021 at USD 5 - 7 million implies YoY growth of 178% - 289% driven by accelerating fleet utilization and enhanced AFN partner operations.

Segment:
Autonomous trucks
Total funding:
USD 648.1 million
Competitors:
Einride, Embark Trucks, Aurora Innovation, Plus, Kodiak Robotics
Disruptor Funding History

Autonomous trucks:

TuSimple
REE Automotive
Aurora Innovation
Plus
Einride
Gatik
Embark Trucks
Peloton Technology
Locomation
Kodiak Robotics
Nuro (Ike)
NuPort Robotics

Driving and safety assist tools:

Aurora Innovation
NetraDyne
Peloton Technology

Electric and fuel cell trucks:

The Incumbents

Well-established truck manufacturers are increasingly adopting autonomous and alternative fuel solutions

Incumbents in the autonomous and alternative fuel truck space are well-established truck manufacturers, with the majority offering self-driving tech as well. For example, Volvo Trucks develops its own autonomous truck dubbed “Vera” while also offering a collision mitigation system called 'Volvo Active Driver Assist.'

Incumbents in the route planning and online freight platforms space include truck stop and travel center companies that introduce their own apps (TravelCenters of America, Love's Travel Stops), as well as other established road travel planning and freight matching companies with separate apps for truck drivers (Trimble MAPS, Zonar, and Direct Freight Services).

Acquisition

Partnership

In-house Product Development

Tesla (Semi)
check
Google Waymo
check
check
Daimler
check
check
check
Volvo
check
check
Scania
check
Toyota Motor North America
check
check
Hyundai (Xcient)
check
check
TravelCenters of America
check
Love's Travel Stops
check
Renren
check
Rand McNally
check
Trimble MAPS
check
PTV Group (PTV Navigator)
check
Direct Freight Services
check
Zonar
check
Transflo
check
check
Geotab
check
Uber Freight
check
LeddarTech
check
ZF Group
check
check
Intel (Mobileye)
check
Paccar
check
check
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems
check
ASG (Trucker Tools)
check
Tesla (Semi)

Unveiled in November 2017, “Tesla Semi” is Tesla Motors’ electric class 8 semi-truck that comes with its self-driving technology, “Tesla Autopilot.” The autopilot feature is equipped with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping alerts, lane departure warnings, and event recording, with SAE Level 2 automation. Tesla Semi marked its first test delivery in March 2018, transporting battery packs from the Gigafactory to the company’s car factory, both in Nevada, covering around 240 miles each way.

The production release of the truck has been pushed back to 2022 from 2019. The delay came amid the company’s attempt to develop its own battery cells at scale for the trucks. The truck models are expected to be priced at USD 150,000 (300-mile range model) and USD 180,000 (500-mile range model). Tesla has secured preorders for the truck from companies including Pride Group Enterprises (for 150 trucks; November 2020), Walmart (for 130 trucks; September 2020), and Pepsi (for 100 trucks; December 2017). It was reported in February 2021 that at least two units had been spotted being transported in Sacramento, California, the first appearance since the launch in 2018.

Notable Investors

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase

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