Overdrive Magazine

September 2019

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24 | Overdrive | September 2019 Self-driving technology developer Kodiak Robotics announced it has begun autonomous commercial deliveries in Texas, though the trucks have a safety driver for emergen- cy intervention. The announcement came 16 months after the company was formed. Mountain View, California-based Kodiak also announced it will be supporting its growing testing and freight opera- tions from a new facility in north Texas and an office in the Dallas-Fort Worth-area. Kodiak also operates as a carrier, using its autonomous platform for operation on middle-mile highway routes after pickup and prior to delivery. Kodiak making driverless runs UPS Ventures, the venture capital arm of UPS, announced it had made a minority investment in TuSimple, an autono- mous truck driving company. TuSimple, which currently hauls cargo on the road for 17 customers, is testing self-driv- ing tractor-trailers with UPS on a route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The company initiated self-driving service in May with a driver and an engineer in the vehicle. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time. The package delivery company is seeking to better understand the requirements for Level 4 autonomous trucking and the benefits of employing the technology. "While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that com- panies like TuSimple are mastering," said Scott Price, chief strategy and transformation officer for UPS. UPS invests in self-driving venture TuSimple is helping UPS test autonomous tractor-trailers on a route within Arizona. Nearly 15,000 small trucking compa- nies that paid DOTAuthority.com or related defendants for vehicle registra- tions are receiving checks from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. FTC is sending checks totaling $757,946 to 14,948 small businesses, an average of about $50 per check. The refunds come from a $900,000 FTC settlement paid by Excelsior Enterprises International, one of four corporate defendants in the case. The others are DOTFilings.com, JPL Enterprises International and DOTAuthority.com. Two individuals tied to the four busi- nesses, James Lamb and Uliana Bogash, also were listed as defendants. Lamb also is president of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition, a lobbying group for truckers and small fleets. This is the second round of pay- ments issued by FTC in the case. Last October, the Commission sent checks totaling $89,736 to 246 trucking companies. FTC says its investigation uncovered additional information, prompting a second round of checks. According to FTC's October 2016 complaint, the defendants scammed thousands of small businesses by send- ing misleading messages that implied the defendants were affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Unified Carrier Registration sys- tem. Lamb has claimed his e-mails and robocalls clearly identified the sender. The defendants agreed to an order settling FTC's charges that bans the defendants from the conduct alleged in the complaint. It also requires them to disclose to customers that they are a private third-party service provider, as well as any associated fees. Trucking companies that think they should receive a refund may contact Rust Consulting at 866-303-8537. Businesses get payments in fraud case FEDEX DROPS AMAZON FedEx, which alongside UPS helped build Amazon's parcel delivery net- work, announced it wouldn't renew its domestic contract with the online retailer. The announcement comes as Amazon has worked to build out its own delivery network. FedEx said it instead will focus on the broader e-commerce mar- ket. When in June the company announced an end to its air contract with Amazon, FedEx said only 1.3 percent of its 2018 revenue was attributable to Amazon. "There is significant demand and opportunity for growth in e-commerce, which is expected to grow from 50 million to 100 million packages a day in the U.S. by 2026," FedEx told investors in June. "FedEx has already built out the network and capacity to serve thousands of retailers in the e-commerce space."

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