Self-Driving Truck Company Hits End Of The Road

Creating a successful self-driving vehicle business can be tougher than it looks.

Since its founding in 2015, Starsky Robotics raised more than $20 million to develop driverless trucks.

“In 2016, we became the first street-legal vehicle to be paid to do real work without a person behind the wheel, states Starsky CEO and co-founder Stefan Seltz-Axmacher in a blog post. “In 2018, we became the first street-legal truck to do a fully unmanned run, albeit on a closed road. In 2019, our truck became the first fully unmanned truck to drive on a live highway.”

Unfortunately, anticipated advances in artificial intelligence didn’t materialize, which didn’t help the timing of the trucks advancing.

“It also didn’t help that last year’s tech IPOs took a lot of energy out of the tech industry, and that trucking has been in a recession for 18 or so months,” states Seltz-Axmacher, noting that the consensus has become that self-driving cars are at least 10 years away.

“Rather than seeing exponential improvements in the quality of AI performance (a la Moore’s Law), we’re instead seeing exponential increases in the cost to improve AI systems — supervised ML seems to follow an S-Curve.”

For a startup, 10 years without shipping a product is the road to failure.

The expected next round of financing, a $20 million Series B., fell apart.

Startsky Robotics and its self-driving trucks are no more.

The company has shut down.

4 comments about "Self-Driving Truck Company Hits End Of The Road".
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  1. Ken Kurtz from creative license, March 23, 2020 at 4:08 p.m.

    Too bad they didn't check with me in 2015. I could have told them the singular reason that they were doomed to fail back then. Because it's a dumbass idea that nobody wants because it doesn't address a problem, in fact, is entirely capable of doing anything other than cause problems in the future.

    All the excuses in this blog post crack me up. Remind me a bit of Hillary's "2016 failure" due to "Trump colluding with Russia."


    Hillary's failure in 2016 was borne of her inability to solve a single American problem as President, and the recognition that she would have simply created more problems in the future.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, March 23, 2020 at 4:32 p.m.

    Please do not bring you own misinformation to MP.

  3. Ken Kurtz from creative license, March 23, 2020 at 5:45 p.m.

    You're right, Paula. It would have been less misinformative for me to simply say that "Hillary for President" was about as dumbass an idea as self-driving trucks. 

  4. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 23, 2020 at 6:41 p.m.

    Ken, Im with you. As soon as they started installing black boxes in cars in 2015, I have been convinced I want no part of this intrusion.  Then we had a few handful of tech geeks who wanted to build cars that drive themselves.  Clueless as they are, people don't want this, but they ignore the data and rely on some poll that leans their way and say "Go for it".
    (Where have we seen these polls be wrong)

    Been saying about 3 plus years on here, "Dumbest Idea of the 21st Century"

    Right now they could take those billions and make toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

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