Narratives Shape Reality

Finch Fulton, Vice President of Policy and Strategy, Locomation joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss the current state of autonomous trucking policy and why narratives shape reality.

The conversation begins with Finch sharing his outlook for 2022 and what he is expecting to see in the autonomous trucking industry. The potential impact of the April 2021 Executive Order Establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment on autonomous trucking.

With rising inflation, labor politics, and a lack of truck drivers, Grayson and Finch discuss how autonomous trucking can shore up the supply chain and lower the costs of goods delivered to consumers. From an investment standpoint, investors in the public markets are starting to look at the autonomous trucking industry as an investment opportunity due to the technology’s ability to shore up the supply chain and its environmental benefits.

The transportation sector as a whole represents 28% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and heavy-duty trucks account for 23% of that.

– Finch Fulton

Locomation’s ARC (Autonomous Relay Convoy) technology will allow its customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22%. This reduction in greenhouse gases will have a positive environmental impact. The environmental benefits and the shoring up of the supply chain are two of the major benefits of autonomous trucking.

When U.S. Labor Secretary Walsh was Mayor of Boston he fully embraced autonomous vehicles when he signed an executive order in 2016 welcoming autonomous vehicles to Boston. Over the last six years, has his stance on autonomy changed. Grayson and Finch discuss Secretary Walsh’s changing approach to autonomy and the impact these changing views might have on the autonomous trucking industry.

The reality of what [truck drivers] face today is different than what the perceptions are. So we really have a lot to do to inform and educate [truck drivers] on what this technology can do to make their jobs better.

– Finch Fulton

To start this process, the industry has to build trust. The trust has to be built with truck drivers, politicians, regulators, and the public. Grayson floats the idea of the industry partnering with Disney to create a new Pixar movie about autonomous trucks that could help develop public trust in the technology. Finch fills in the storyline with real-world data.

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Finch discuss the positive economic impact that autonomous trucking will have on the U.S. economy.

[The United States] lets innovators innovate and we do not start with no.

– Finch Fulton

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Recorded on Monday, January 3, 2021.