This startup says it will beat Tesla to putting unmanned semi-trucks on the road: ‘I don’t think Tesla’s in the race’ (TSLA)


starsky robotics self driving trucks

Starsky Robotics, a San Francisco startup that makes self-driving semi-trailer trucks, wants to put driverless big-rigs on the road in 2018.
That would put the startup well ahead of Tesla’s timeline. The electric-car juggernaut predicts its hauler, the Semi, will go into production in 2019.
Starsky Robotics’ CEO says: “I don’t think Tesla’s in the race.”

You’ve probably never heard of Starsky Robotics, the San Francisco startup that wants to put driverless semi-trailer trucks on the road later this year.

The company faces significant competition from transportation juggernauts such as Waymo, Uber, and Tesla, who are also working on big-rigs that drive themselves.

But Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, the 28-year-old cofounder and CEO of Starsky Robotics, says he isn’t worried, simply because he doesn’t think trucking is a priority for his rivals.

“I don’t think Tesla’s in the race. Honestly, I think Waymo, Tesla, and Uber all have their leftover people working on trucks, or maybe their up-and-comers who are trying to make a name for themselves on a less important team,” Seltz-Axmacher said.

Founded in 2015, Starsky Robotics — named for the trucking slang term for when drivers work in teams, like the title characters of the 1970s TV series “Starsky & Hutch” — aims to have driverless semi-trailer trucks on the road before the end of 2018, Seltz-Axmacher said.

It could be a first, beating all of those rivals.

The system they’re building has big-rigs drive themselves in simple highway conditions, and has human drivers take remote control from miles away when the trucks encounter anything weird or complicated. The plan is to eventually hire dozens of drivers, who will each monitor several trucks at once from the safety of a computer screen.

Before the year’s end, Seltz-Axmacher says Starsky Robotics will beat Tesla to putting self-driving semi-trucks on the road — without a human in the driver seat.

The company may already be halfway there. Starsky Robotics has been hauling freight for other companies and making money since April 2017, with a small number of self-driving, but manned vehicles operating in southeastern parts of the US.

Starsky Robotics employs seven drivers and its trucks cover about 150 miles every day, according to Seltz-Axmacher.

And while its competitors are focused on ride-hailing, electric vehicles, and self-driving cars, Seltz-Axmacher says Starsky Robotics has eyes on long-haul trucking only.

“Saying that we’re better than Tesla is like an average baseball player saying that they’re better at baseball than Michael Jordan,” Seltz-Axmacher said. “I don’t …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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