Doubling Down on Innovation

Dustin Koehl, Senior Vice President Of Sales, U.S. Xpress joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why U.S. Xpress is doubling down on innovation and what the future of the trucking industry looks like in the coming years.

The conversation begins with Dustin sharing an overview of U.S. Xpress and why the company is constantly doubling down on innovation. From Variant which is reengineering the truck diver experience for the better to autonomous trucking which will shore up the chain, U.S. Xpress is constantly focused on the future of trucking.

With a pending truck driver shortage of over 80,000 drivers, the trucking industry will change dramatically over the next 5 to 10 years. One of the major changes that will affect the industry is the focus on sustainability and what the industry will do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Our trucks travel over 600 million miles a year and over 1.2 million deliveries are made per year. It’s a great opportunity to be good stewards of our environment.

– Dustin Koehl

U.S. Xpress’ commitment to sustainability extends to the local community as the company gives back by rolling up its sleeves and participating in the Chattanooga Preparatory School mentor program. The Chatt Prep mentor program could eventually pave the way for students to enter the trucking industry.

The trucking industry is currently in a phase of optimization to improve performance and dwell time.

With a driver, they have a fourteen-hour day or an eleven-hour clock that they drive. Well, the industry average is about six and half hours is really all they drive each day.

– Dustin Koehl

A large part of the discrepancy in time on and driving is due to parking and congestion. With parking being a major issue for trucking, Grayson and Dustin go on to discuss the issue and what can be done to solve the issue and increase hours driven each day by a truck driver.

Putting the pieces together, Grayson asks Dustin how the company is preparing for the future of autonomous trucking.

U.S. Xpress became one of the first fleets if not the first fleet to say let’s be at the tip of the spear here. We have really pressed in from a regulatory space, we have pressed in from an operational playbook.

– Dustin Koehl

Expanding the conversation, Grayson and Dustin talk about how the industry at large is preparing for the future of autonomous trucking.

States are also preparing to welcome autonomous trucking, but California is not allowing the technology to operate on public roads in the State. Brulte & Company and U.S. Xpress are both founding members of the California Alliance for Freight Innovation which is working to foster innovation and advancement in freight transportation.

While the autonomous trucking technology is being developed in California, it is being deployed in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida. California is missing a large positive economic impact by not embracing autonomous trucking deployments as the State acts merely as Texas’ R&D lab as companies are actively deploying autonomous trucks in Texas.

Autonomous trucking can spur on $111 billion in aggregate investment across the U.S. economy.

– Dustin Koehl

Wrapping up the conversation, Dustin discusses U.S. Xpress’ 2022 technology investment plans.

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Recorded on Friday, December 17, 2021.