Your May 17 Pre-Trip: Start-up aims to make trucks driverless

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. A former group of Google employees recently launched Otto, a start-up aimed at making existing trucks on the road driverless, CNBC reports. The start-up, which comprises ex-Google, Apple and Tesla employees, has developed a kit of sensors, software and enhancements that can be outfitted to existing trucks, according to the report. Otto is testing the technology on highways and recently completed an autonomous demo on a public highway, according to CNBC.

2. U.S. shippers are running out of warehouse space needed to maintain the inventories they’ve built over the past year, according to a JOC report. The initial fear was not having enough trucks to keep up with inventories; however, demand for warehousing and demand for distribution space is fueling a construction boom, but developers can’t build fast enough, according to the report. JOC has more.

3. The Atlantic looks at how truck driving has transitioned from one of America’s steadiest jobs to the most grueling. The article, written by sociologist Steve Viscelli, examines how the industry has led to the rise of independent contractors in an effort to help large carriers keep costs down. The Atlantic has more.

4. Caitlin Welby, a 34-year-old yoga teacher by training, is the CEO and president of RFX Forward, a transportation, trucking and logistics company. According to a Civil Eats article, Welby and her team just launched a new initiative called Permatrucking to transform the culture at RFX and make drivers healthier. According to the report, Welby began teaching lunchtime yoga classes and held weekly management meetings that began with gratitude circles and meditation, and at town hall meetings, employees were invited to discuss issues while eating organic food. Read more at Civil Eats.

5. Trucking company Sun Valley Inc. has been named the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month for May, The Hutchinson News reports. The company, which started up in 1994, employs 39. Owner Keith Bauer told the Hutchinson News that he operates 35 trucks and owns about 100 trailers. According to the report, the city of South Hutchinson recently gave the company $1.5 million in bonds to build a warehouse, which will allow the company to store loaded trailers and offer customers more flexibility.

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