FR8relay is the latest tech start-up that wants to turn trucking into a day job. The idea was spawned when cofounder Aayush Thakur worked in logistics. He just couldn’t comprehend why so many trucks sat idle on their route. Thakur soon learned that regulations required drivers to take a mandatory 10-hour rest period after 11 hours of driving. Thakur couldn’t understand why someone would take a job that would lead them away from home for weeks at a time without even working the whole time. Immediately, he had an idea. He would just need some help. Recruiting his wife, Deme Yuan, they founded a company that would eliminate long-haul trucking entirely. Instead, drivers would exchange cargo at various cargo drop-off centers like a relay. Driving back and forth close to home would get them to have dinner with their family each night.
It’s a novel idea, and it looks like it may have some weight to it. In fact, it has so much weight that the Federal Government wants to finance the project, at least partially. The Department of Agriculture and Energy offered FR8relay a $1 million grant for their work. They see the benefits and know they exceed Thakur and Yuan’s original vision.
The vision is that drivers could drive to a location and exchange cargo with another driver going in the opposite direction. similar to how the Pony Express worked. Riders would drop mail bags at a post office for another rider to carry the mail through the next step of the journey. In this model, relay points would spread across trucking routes that would have drivers go back and forth in their area. The Departments of Agriculture and Energy see this as a benefit to electrifying trucking.
Electric vehicles just don’t have the same range as diesel-powered trucks. It’s always been an issue when discussing how exactly carriers plan to electrify the trucking industry. However, with these drop-off and pickup locations, drivers could charge their vehicles here and not have to worry about the long-haul issues. The first relay route will go from Chicago to Dallas. If successful, more routes should pop up across the nation.
The idea is nothing new. In fact, the USPS and many union trucking companies utilize relay driving. It was very popular up until the deregulation of the industry in 1981. The market and industry sees this as a perfect solution to many of the issues in the industry. It is obvious that the trucking industry needs an overhaul. This could be the perfect solution.