All That's Trucking

Autonomous Trucks, Hair Testing and E-Commerce in the News This Week

November 14, 2016

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Every week, there are far more interesting and relevant stories out there related to trucking than we have time to follow up and report on. I wanted to bring your attention to several stories that appeared in the mainstream press this week, dealing with hair testing for drugs and alcohol colliding with religious beliefs; what UPS and FedEx are doing to speed e-commerce deliveries; and a couple of the latest items about autonomous trucks.

Hair testing vs. religious beliefs

Trucking companies that want to use hair analysis for drug and alcohol testing need to take religious beliefs involving hair into account.

Widely reported was the story of J.B. Hunt reaching a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, agreeing to change its practices and pay $260,000 in damages to four Sikh truck drivers who refused to cut their hair for pre-employment drug tests.

Read more in the LA Times.

Speeding e-commerce delivery

As e-commerce remains one of the fastest-growing areas of our economy, FedEx and UPS have been opening more and larger sorting facilities that shorten the often time-consuming first leg of a shipment, from e-commerce fulfillment center to shipping hub.

This week, UPS announced plans to open its third-largest facility yet, near the Fulton County Airport-Brown Field just outside Atlanta. The $400 million, 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center will be highly automated and able to handle more than 100,000 packages an hour.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

Is Arkansas the next state for autonomous trucks?

Uber Freight joined the Arkansas Trucking Association on Thursday, less than a month after Uber successfully delivered the nation's first commercial cargo using autonomous-vehicle technology on the interstate portion of the trip.

The association now has ramped up its discussion of how unmanned commercial vehicles might make their way to Arkansas.

Read more at Arkansas Online.

Autonomous trucks in China

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, "several Chinese-based companies are working on automated trucks, and lenient regulations as well as a desire to overhaul the country’s chaotic trucking industry may smooth the way for the technology’s introduction," reports Technology Review.

TuSimple, a company based in San Diego and Beijing, is developing an automated trucking platform in partnership with a large Chinese truck maker. Company officials noted that there is effectively no restriction on testing self-driving systems in China currently.

And China's internet search company Baidu is collaborating with truck maker Foton, which showed off a prototype self-driving truck at an expo held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center this week. 

Read more in Technology Review.

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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