Convoy, J.B. Hunt, and Uber Freight want API standards in freight tech. The three have formed the Scheduling Standards Consortium (SSC) to call for standardization in transportation appointment scheduling via a report from FreightWaves.
What’s the problem In Freight Tech?
Despite being a common task, appointment scheduling is still one of the freight industry’s most analog and disjointed processes. Freight tech companies have tried to tackle this issue but haven’t had insight into one another’s data. Going in without that open exchange doesn’t help fix fragmented supply chains.
The SSC wants to combine the work of logistics providers, warehouse management solutions, and transportation management systems to push toward industry standards in scheduling practices.
Standards Consortium started with an organic conversation…
…between three representatives from each company during a FreightWaves Future of Supply Chain conference back in May. It was there that Dan Lewis, CEO of Convoy, spoke with Stuart Scott, executive vice president and chief information officer at J.B. Hunt, and the co-founder and head of operations at Uber Freight, Bill Driegert. The three felt that as early technology adopters, they could lead the way to more efficient scheduling practices.
They say that the goal of SSC is not to create another commercial product but to pull multiple parts of the industry together “to design a common application programming interface for sharing scheduling data,” Lewis and Scott explained to FreightWaves.
Lewis adds, “By setting these API standards, it allows for more innovation in the future.”
What’s the response?
There’s already a website up and running. Scott says current contributors showed an overwhelmingly positive response to the goal of industry-wide API standards. But they still need to get more key players on board with sharing information. The goal is that seeing leaders like J.B. Hunt involved will convince others to join the consortium.
The SSC plans to roll out standards for full-truckload freight by Q1 2023.
Kodiak Robotics, an autonomous truck startup out of California, will get $49.9 million from the US Army to work with the Robotic Combat Vehicle program, per The Verge. They’ll use the funds to help develop self-driving vehicles for the military in reconnaissance, surveillance, and other “high-risk” missions.
What kind of autonomous military vehicles can we expect from Kodiak?
The 24-month US Department of Defense agreement allows Kodiak to build on its commercial autonomous truck software for national security. Press releases revealed few details about the potential vehicles.
“Kodiak will develop autonomous vehicle technology for the Army to navigate complex terrain, diverse operational conditions, and GPS-challenged environments while also providing the Army the ability to remotely operate vehicles when necessary,” the company says.
Last month, Kodiak displayed the capabilities of its self-driving software under a high-pressure situation. We shared the video of the autonomous truck maintaining precise control during a tire blowout, never leaving its lane.
That type of display may have been why they were initially the only autonomous vehicle company selected out of 33 submissions for this DoD Defense Innovation Unit award.
What about Kodiak’s commercial autonomous trucks?
Kodiak mentions that this reward and project will not derail its core commercial autonomous trucks business. They see the military contract as a way to extend and propel its innovations forward.
“As we progress our commercial product over the next 24 months and beyond, we will provide that increased functionality and performance to the army…Our military work will help us progress Kodiak’s trucking stack and core commercial offering.” CEO and founder of Kodiak, Don Burnette, writes.
That’s usually how things go when a company partners with the military. We’re likely to see advancements from the collaboration. We’re curious to know how the military-industrial complex’s focus on autonomous vehicles will help shape the future of US roads.
Check out our latest roundup of the top news headlines from around the freight and logistics world. We gather news related to brokers, carriers, shippers, logistics startups, freight tech, and more. Here’s what we’ve got for November 28, 2022.
- Broker Market: The global freight brokerage market is estimated to reach $90.7 billion by 2031, a CAGR of 6.3% from 2022-2031.
- Unionize the Skies: Workers at Amazon’s largest air hub in the world are pushing to organize a union. This comes as strikes are cropping up at Amazon centers across the globe.
- From Outside the Cab: A viral video showed a truck driver steering an 18-wheeler into a parking spot without even stepping inside the cabin. Some gave praise while others ripped him a new one.
- Askin’ All Them Questions: The planned mega-merger between Kroger and Albertsons is facing questioning from congress this week. If successful, the top grocers would bring nearly 5,000 stores under one umbrella.
- Class 8 Update: October Class 8 orders continue at robust levels due to pent-up demand, broader orderboards for 2023, and elevated fleet age.
Want to see last week’s headlines?
This Black Friday e-commerce broke $9 billion in sales for the first time, setting a record figure of $9.12 billion for the day per TechCrunch’s report on figures from Adobe Analytics. This number is up 2.3% compared to last year and is slightly higher than Adobe’s original estimations. But, we don’t really know the role inflation plays in those numbers – are people actually buying more, or are they just paying higher prices?
Thanksgiving day e-commerce also showed higher numbers than estimated…
…with shoppers spending $5.29 billion online during turkey day. The way we shop during this period has changed massively. Thanks to mobile phones, you don’t even have to leave the Thanksgiving table to place some orders between bites of green bean casserole. 55% of online sales were made from mobile devices on Thursday, up 8.3% from a year ago.
By the end of the holiday shopping season…
…Adobe puts consumer spending at $210 billion, a 2.5% growth over last year. While these revenues are high, they don’t come close to the 32% growth the e-commerce industry saw in 2020. Cyber Monday and the rest of this week will see an additional $34.8 billion, up 2.8% from last year, Adobe predicts.
What are people buying anyway?
Here are some of the products that are flying off the virtual shelves according to Adobe Analytics.
- Xbox Series X
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
- Paw Patrol
Alongside Modest Growth, there are still supply chain issues to contend with.
As we wrote last week, the threat of a rail labor strike could deal a heavy blow to a slowly recovering supply chain. Retailers are still dealing with excess inventory and hope to clear out warehouse space before the next season, especially for apparel. So for now, everyone is still moving cautiously during this unpredictable time.
We recently reported a short update on supply chain fears surrounding the talks of a potential rail strike this December. Now we’re back to give you a few more details. On Monday, one of the biggest rail unions rejected a deal, becoming the third union that failed to reach contract agreements per PBS news.
Everyone’s fear is so heightened because a strike would send ripples across an already shaky supply chain. Already, President Joe Biden has had to come into the negotiations to try and keep the strikes at bay back in September, but it’s clear now that the rail unions won’t be easily subdued. The president already has to walk a careful line because critics say he is too “pro-union.” At the same time, supporters could be turned off by any aggressive action towards workers.
Here is what key voices are saying about a potential rail strike.
- Jeremy Ferguson, president of the largest rail union said, “Members aren’t necessarily voting on the money issues…it’s quality of life, and how they’re treated.”
- A statement from the Retail Industry Leaders Association read, “Retailers urge policymakers to use every tool at their disposal to avoid a self-inflicted economic disaster.”
- White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated, “a shutdown is unacceptable because of the harm it would inflict on jobs, families,” but did not comment further on any congressional action.
At this stage, the slight recoveries that we were starting to see this holiday season could be completely wiped out if an agreement isn’t reached and congress does not force any action. We won’t have long to find out, as a strike could happen as early as December 9th.