April 11, 2016



History has shown that technological disruption comes with a reliable series of public reactions – first confusion, then anxiety, and finally clarity. We believe that the Hyliion solution is no different, and that we can learn from other disruptive trends along the supply chain. Imagine a few of the most newsworthy:

  • Self-Driving Trucks: We are already beginning to see auto-piloted trucks on highways globally, and manufacturers are networking them all together in short-range ‘platoons’ for maximum fuel savings and safety. These initial tests are driving toward ‘National Highway Networkability’ which will ease congestion and speed deliveries nationwide. But prior to each step, the broader public must believe that driverless trucks are safer than alternatives; education and communication will be required to overcome the anxiety of seeing an empty seat behind the wheel of a swaying rig.
  • Drones: The privately-owned drone craze has already forced the hand of the FAA to regulate individual pilots, which complicates plans from corporations like Amazon who want to use drones for rural delivery. We believe the next decade will see widespread adoption of drones for business-to-consumer and business-to-business deliveries – in full compliance with all operating rules such as altitude, speed, routes and legal liability. Still, we will have to overcome noise complaints, drone poachers, and privacy concerns before regulators allow deployment.
  •  Big Data: Whole businesses have been built merely on geolocation and timestamp data along the supply chain. Imagine the efficiencies to be created when each unit of freight is equipped with RFID and real-time broadcast, when traffic congestion is predictable and re-routable, when routes can be optimized for fuel cost. At first, capital requirements have given fleets too much pause to see real savings, and the second wave will probably see over-equipped fleets. But with every unit of freight generating data every second – the time to tackle the data analytics challenge is now.

The great innovator Raymond Loewy always advocated for the ‘Most Advanced Yet Acceptable’ solution, or his MAYA principle. The winners in these industries will be those who can balance the apprehensions of the public with the advancements delivered, all while providing real value to suppliers at an acceptable cost.

This is the challenge that we face when explaining the Hyliion. When we showed fleets that a 60 minute, retrofit installation could deliver 31% fuel savings, they were confused. When we explained that it cost $500 a month and after expenses it saved them $1,300 monthly – they were anxious.  And finally when we mentioned meeting with the DOT and receiving the DOE Green Company of the Year Award for 2015 – they felt clearly that it was a solution to be adopted.



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