Acme Autonomous Truck Technology
Acme Autonomous Truck Technology (AAT) has developed a package of software and hardware which allows one driver to control up to five “driverless” semis behind him or her. This increase fuel mileage by up to 6% and eliminates the cost of up to five drivers for cross country trips. We did not invest.
- Assessment: This company had a fantastic video showing how the product “would” work, alongside great sales presentations and a Board of “nine” people in transportation. However, and unlike our other truck equipment investment, we didn’t see the technology “proven” anywhere in the real world. Despite multiple “waves of the hand,” we didn’t see UPS, FedEx or Schneider National running fleet tests.
- Outcome: Too early to tell. At last check, they had raised $80MM in capital against a valuation of about $400MM. But it still has yet to put a platoon on the road. Various state/federal regulators are getting comfortable with this technology for long-haul, interstate runs and the technology may now finally be ready to test.
- Learning: We couldn’t get over the idea that the company has very slick marketing materials and a huge staff of PR and government relations people, but no working prototype. The “product” shown in their elaborate video turned out to be a simple mockup. Another issue: The Teamsters Union has vowed to fight AAT technology to the end.