Drivers are the backbone of the trucking industry. They know better than anyone what it’s like on the road, quietly powering the supply chain by moving goods around the world. Yet, to-date truck drivers have not been engaged to help build the future of autonomous trucking, despite having more knowledge than anyone about the roads on which self-driving trucks will one day operate.
At Waabi, we believe this is a missed opportunity. This March, we launched an industry-first Million Mile Driver Advisory Board to give the world’s most experienced truck drivers—those who have safely driven over a million miles—their long-overdue seat at the AV development table. The Driver Advisory Board is creating an important partnership between Waabi and the world-class truck drivers who have safely and efficiently traveled millions of miles behind the wheel. It’s only natural that drivers should play an integral role in building the future of trucking.
Collaborating on the future of trucking
We recognize the hurdles of building trust with truck drivers about the future of AV. It’s a traditionally tense relationship, but we are committed to changing this dynamic, demystifying autonomy, and bringing truck drivers into the fold. Built on core principles of transparency and openness, our Million Mile Driver Advisory Board opens up an unprecedented dialogue to create new, collaborative relationships between truck drivers and the AV industry.
For these world-class drivers, it’s an important opportunity to help influence and shape the industry they have spent their lives in. Even more so, it’s a chance for them to continue ensuring the roads and highways they have logged so many miles on remain safe, especially as new drivers take the reins. We’re here to listen and gain valuable insights that will inform the future of autonomous vehicles. This dialogue will ultimately lead to better technology, safer roads, and a stronger supply chain.
Learning from best-in-class drivers
We held our first meetings in early March, bringing together seven of the best drivers in North America. Many of them have driven over two million safe miles across decades of experience, and are accomplished safety leaders and driver trainers. Hailing from the industry’s leading trucking companies from both US and Canada, these drivers came to our San Francisco office to participate in roundtable-style discussion with Waabi’s team and one of our own expert drivers, Larry Coons. Dr. David Correll from MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics joined these discussions, playing a pivotal role as both moderator and researcher. The open dialogue covered the critical issues that are top-of-mind for seasoned drivers beginning to engage with autonomous trucks: liability, driving behaviors, edge case decision-making, safety operations, life on the road, and more.
“What inspired these drivers with the most confidence in AV was Waabi simply inviting them to offer their voice and share their input — more even than their introduction to any specific technologies.”Dr. David Correll, MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics
In the two days of programming, these world-class drivers made it abundantly clear that road safety is their top priority. They graciously and enthusiastically offered their own safety expertise and wisdom, knowing these insights would eventually find their way into our virtual Waabi Driver and ultimately protect the motoring public once this technology is deployed at scale.
Understanding the daily life of a truck driver
Parts of the discussion looked at autonomy from a bird’s eye view, scanning the bigger picture of how this technology fits into the drivers’ daily lives — one driver pointed out AV’s potential to help fleet managers and fill in for drivers needing a last-minute sick day. Other parts of the discussion dove into more granular, in-the-weeds safety-critical considerations such as detours, soft shoulders, bridges, and even rocks cracking the windows. From improving lives to saving motorists, these million mile drivers were eager to collaborate with us on shaping the future of autonomous trucks together, because we all shared the common goal of safe roads.
Waabi wants to make sure every truck driver can stay safe and retire as a truck driver. The Million Mile Driver Advisory Board is an important step toward a more intentionally transparent relationship with best-in-class drivers. We are peeling back the curtain of AV development and integrating their input and wealth of real-world expertise into our technology.
Meet the highway heroes from our inaugural session
Marcus Carter, Sr.
Driver Manager & Recruiter
23 years experience, 2 million miles
25 years experience, 3 million miles
US Xpress Variant
31 years experience, 3 million miles
Total Transportation of MS
10 years experience, 1 million miles
22 years experience, 2.75 million miles
23 years experience, 2 million miles
15 years experience, 1 million miles
Want to get involved?
We’re excited to continue these conversations in our upcoming meetings. If you or your fleet is interested in nominating one of your best drivers to participate in the important work of our Million Mile Driver Advisory Board, please reach out to email@example.com.