Thought Leadership Series- The Next Decade of Automated Truck Innovation

Please register for this recorded Thought Leadership Webinar. 


Webinar Description:

For the past five years, automated trucks have been in development and successfully deployed by several automated vehicle (AV) truck developers. These developments support the U.S. trucking industry as it is constantly changing by new customer demand, manufacturer support, technology innovation, and increased traffic safety.

Join this webinar and hear from some of the leading AV truck developers in exploring the current state of automated trucks and what the industry can expect in the coming years. Examples of panelist discussion include:

  • Who players in the AV trucking industry are
  • The current state of AV technology, including its strengths and limitations
  • The differences between: automated driving systems vs. advanced driver assistance system technologies, and middle-mile vs. DC to DC
  • The current state of AV trucking industry regulations
  • AV truck developer State and Federal government activities
  • Current deployments of automated trucks
  • What every fleet should know about autonomy


About the Panelists:

Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli - Director of Partner Products and Programs, Aurora Innovation

Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli is Director of Partner Products and Programs at Aurora Innovation. She leads a team that is responsible for defining and delivering products to partners across automotive, logistics, mobility, transit, and technology sectors. Prior to Aurora Innovation, Lia was Director of Business Development and Strategy at Lyft and led Global Government Relations for Square. Lia started her career in government, serving in the Executive Branch on trade and economic initiatives. Lia studied International Economics at the George Washington University and is a Truman National Security Fellow.

Sam Abidi, Head of Business Development, Embark

Sam Abidi is the Head of Business Development for Embark, a leading developer of self-driving trucks.

Prior to Embark, Sam worked at Deloitte Consulting where he led the development of the autonomous trucking program. In this role, Sam worked with F500 companies from across the freight ecosystem to define pilot programs, partnerships and commercialization strategies that would accelerate the adoption of autonomous trucking and smart logistics technologies. Prior to Deloitte, Sam was responsible for scaling Phelps2020, an early-stage business that produces video analytics products for the defense and national security sector. During his tenure, Sam grew revenue by over three hundred percent, established key distribution partnerships and brought the business to profitability.

Sam Abidi earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Don Burnette, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kodiak Robotics

Don Burnette is the Co-Founder & CEO of Kodiak Robotics. Don is one of the autonomous vehicle industry’s true pioneers, with more than ten years experience working on self-driving software development. He began his career as a software tech lead for the Google self-driving car project, the predecessor to Waymo. After over five years at Google, Don left the company to co-found Otto, the first self-driving truck startup, which was acquired by Uber. After nearly two years as Software Technical Lead at Uber, Don left to co-found Kodiak.

Don earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Florida. He also earned a Master’s degree in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jim Mullen, Chief Legal & Risk Officer, TuSimple 

Prior to joining TuSimple, Jim served as the Acting Administrator and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). While leading the FMCSA in Washington, he was responsible for regulating more than 530,000 trucking companies, 12,000 bus and motorcoach operators, and approximately 4 million interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. Notable accomplishments during his FMCSA tenure include Hours of Service reform, autonomous commercial vehicle rulemaking, contributions to the DOT’s AV 3.0 and 4.0., and leading the agency during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before joining the DOT, Jim ran a consulting firm specializing in transportation and cross-border trade.  He also spent 10 years as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Werner Enterprises, one of the largest truckload carriers in the United States.  Jim has served as a member of the American Trucking Associations Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree from the University of Nebraska.

Boris Sofman, Head of Engineering for Trucking, Waymo 

Boris Sofman is the Head of Engineering for Trucking at Waymo, a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they're going. Boris leads a team that builds on Waymo’s technical foundations and experience to pursue the tremendous opportunities in trucking.

Prior to Waymo, Boris was the co-founder and CEO of Anki where he and the team sought to bring technologies from robotics and AI into mass-market consumer products. Anki developed various entertainment products and shipped over 3.5 million robots and devices around the world. Previously, he also worked on off-road autonomous vehicles and ways to leverage machine learning approaches to improve navigational capabilities in real-time.

Boris holds a B.S. in Computer Science and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.



Aurora Innovation:

Aurora Innovation, founded in 2017 by the leading experts in self-driving, is committed to delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly. Through rigorous engineering and applied machine learning, the company is building the Aurora Driver, a platform that brings together software, hardware and data services to fully operate any passenger or commercial vehicle. Aurora is backed by Amazon and Sequoia, among others, and tests its vehicles in the Bay Area, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. The company has offices in those three cities and in Bozeman, Montana.

For more information visit: https://aurora.tech/

Embark Trucks:

Embark is building self-driving truck technology to make highways safer and the transport of goods more efficient. Our self-driving trucks are moving freight for Fortune 500 companies using our purpose-built transfer hubs, setting a new standard for how driverless trucks will move freight in the future. Since our founding in 2016, we have been on a mission to work closely with the trucking industry to bring this technology to market.

For more information visit: https://embarktrucks.com/

Kodiak Robotics:

Kodiak was founded in April 2018 with a clear mission: to build a safer, smarter freight carrier—so people, partners, and the planet thrive. Core to that mission is a big belief about technology: that self-driving trucks, driven on highway routes, will be the first autonomous vehicles deployed on American roads at scale. Kodiak made its first commercial delivery between Dallas and Houston in July 2019, and recently made our 500th delivery with a 100% on-time delivery record.

For more information visit: https://kodiak.ai/


TuSimple is a global autonomous technology company revolutionizing the estimated $4 trillion global freight market. TuSimple has developed industry-leading autonomous technology specifically designed for semi-trucks, which has enabled the company  to build the world’s first Autonomous Freight Network (“AFN”) in partnership with world-class shippers, carriers, fleet owners and truck hardware partners. TuSimple’s technology and AFN will make long-haul trucking significantly safer, more reliable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. 

For more information visit: https://www.tusimple.com/


Waymo is a self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. Since our start as the Google Self-Driving Car Project in 2009, Waymo has been focused on building the World’s Most Experienced Driver in hopes of improving the world's access to mobility while saving thousands of lives now lost to traffic crashes. Our Waymo Driver powers Waymo One, our autonomous ride-hailing service, as well as Waymo Via, our trucking and local delivery service. To date, Waymo has driven over 20 million miles autonomously on public roads across 25 U.S. cities and conducted over 15 billion miles of simulation testing.

For more information visit: www.waymo.com

Note:  A recording will be provided to all approved registrants post webinar even if you are not able to attend.

**NOTICE: ATA webinars are strictly educational for our members, and are not press events. The information contained in this webinar is not intended for, nor should it be used in, the production, editing or creation of news or analysis pieces. Participants are also forbidden from using them as background for published materials, white papers or other communications. Therefore, the contents of this webinar are strictly embargoed and off the record.