Volvo adds Aurora as autonomous partner to spur development

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, March 31, 2021:

Volvo partnering with autonomous trucking company
Volvo Autonomous Solutions has partnered with self-driving technology company Aurora to jointly develop autonomous trucks.

The agreement signed between the companies is a long-term partnership spanning over several years. The initial focus is on hub-to-hub applications for customers in North America. Automation is aimed at creating tangible benefits for both customers and society in terms of productivity, safety, sustainability and energy efficiency.

The partnership will center on the integration of the Aurora Driver into Volvo’s on-highway trucks and the development of its Transport as a Service solutions, which build on Volvo’s products and track record within safety and Aurora’s expertise in the development of self-driving systems. 

Previously announced Volvo Group collaborations with partners such as Nvidia and others will continue in parallel with the collaboration with Aurora, Volvo noted.

Earlier this year, Aurora also partnered with Paccar on development of its self-driving trucks. 

NATSO partnership helping fund EV charging stations
The first year of a collaboration between electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint and truck stop organization NATSO resulted in the funding of more than 150 DC fast charging spots with additional access to more than 1,500 publicly available spots for consumers on ChargePoint’s existing network, the organizations announced Tuesday.

The National Highway Charging Collaborative is an initiative that will leverage $1 billion in public and private capital to install charging at more than 4,000 travel plazas and fuel stops across the country by 2030.  

The Collaborative also advocates for public policies that are designed to create a business case for off-highway fuel retailers to invest in EV charging infrastructure.

Crete, Shaffer increasing driver pay
Two major national carriers – Crete Carrier (CCJ Top 250, No. 29) and its subsidiary Shaffer Trucking – are raising pay for many of their drivers.

The increase is for drivers on national and regional over-the-road fleets and will take effect May 1. Starting pay for OTR drivers will now range from 59 to 65 cents per mile, depending on experience.

The pay increases apply to all solo, team and owner-operator drivers on national and regional OTR fleets that pay by the mile. Pay is based on practical miles, which pays an average of 3-5% more than pay based on short route miles, according to the company.

TransAm Trucking raising independent contractor pay
Kansas-headquartered TransAm Trucking announced this week a 3 cents-per-mile increase for both existing and new independent contractors.

Independent contractors with the company will now start at $1.07 per mile loaded and empty. The company also implemented an accelerated rate increase for owner-operators with an increase of 5 cents-per-mile after six months of continuous service with TransAm.

Within six months, owner-ops with TransAm could be earning $1.12 per mile loaded and empty, which is on top of other bonus opportunities the company offers.