FreightWaves AEV Summit features industry experts

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FreightWaves’ Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Summit deconstructs the wave of special-purpose acquisition companies that has taken many transportation startups public during the pandemic.

Vince Cubbage, CEO of Tortoise Acquisition Corp., took two such companies public. He’s looking for a target for a third SPAC. Cubbage keynotes the second annual (mostly) Virtual AEV Summit on Wednesday.

Cubbage sees a correlation between the lack of business travel during the pandemic and sports gamblers with fewer games to bet as contributors to the frenzy.

“When you looked at the suspension of professional sports and the amount of capital that normally flows into those channels and the market players in those channels, you look for another way to have the same level of activity, but find one thing different to bet on,. There was a ton of speculation about SPACs,” Cubbage said.

The virtual event features several live looks from FreightWaves Freightcasters, including a summit-themed edition of What the Truck?!?

Autonomous prospects

Don Burnette, co-founder and CEO of autonomous trucking software developer Kodiak Robotics, will do a live fireside chat. He and Detroit office chief Alan Adler will explore remaining gaps in bringing self-driving trucks to market.

Recent Kodiak initiatives include securing an investment from Pilot Company for a self-contained hub in the Atlanta area. It also has a simplified mapping system to guide trucks that will ultimately have no humans in the cab.

Separately, Plus co-founder and COO Shawn Kerrigan will advocate for improved advanced driver assistance systems. Kerrigan and Plus rack up tens of millions of driver-supervised miles before attempting to let the robots take over.

Mike Taylor, General Manager of Global Powertrain Integration at Cummins Inc., will explain the engine brand’s involvement with several autonomous trucking companies. Cummins takes on the role of ensuring that the engine and transmission successfully communicate with the standalone hardware and software.

Approaches to electrification

The electrification of medium to heavy trucks is receiving a lot of attention. Rakesh Aneja of Daimler Truck North America explains how his company is adding large orders for Class 8 electric trucks. This includes an order for 800 units from Sysco Corp., while investing tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure truck charging.

Repowering existing chassis to run on electricity is a major focus of Lightning eMotors. CEO Tim Reeser interviews Modern Shipper’s Jack Daleo.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ree Automotive CEO Daniel Barel talks to Sam Abuelsamid of Guidehouse Insights. Ree collaborates to offer electronics in all four corners of its skateboard chassis to double the regenerative braking capability.

Bill Blem, senior vice president of fleet operations at NFI, and Rob Reich, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Schneider, discuss their early experiences integrating electric trucks into drayage transportation in Southern California.

Ann Rundle, vice president of ACT Research, speaks with Washington correspondent John Gallagher about the state of regulations affecting self-driving trucks. They will also cover Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) incentives that could contribute to electrification.

Wiley Deck, vice president of government affairs and public policy at Plus, and Locomation vice president of policy, Finch Fulton, also weigh in.

The hydrogen economy

As president of energy at Nikola Corp., Pablo Koziner, pioneered the early execution of hydrogen infrastructure. He also talks about the IRA as a potential gain for hydrogen that could lower its price per kilogram. Cost is one of the barriers to adoption of fuel cell technology.

See the full agenda and Register free.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 The list of for-hire carriers includes Schneider (#7) and NFI (#33).


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