Demise of Starsky Robotics a ‘setback for the industry’

Freddie Holmes speaks to former Senior Vice President of Starsky Robotics, who outlines why teleoperation of heavy trucks remains viable

To the surprise of many industry observers, Starsky Robotics—the plucky US start-up looking to introduce remote operation of heavy-duty trucks—abruptly came to a halt in February.

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Reports first circulated that virtually all employees had been laid off, and within just a few days it was confirmed that the company had gone bust. Most of its past employees have since taken up positions with Cruise Automation, as well as Uber, Waymo and Apple’s Special Projects Group. Others have moved into AI start-ups such as Farmwise, which works in the agriculture sector, and Scale AI, which works with everything from drones and robotics, to self-driving cars and retail.

Founded in 2016, the company envisioned fleets of big rigs being driven across the country without a driver behind the wheel. Instead, an operator in a Starsky operations centre would sit comfortably in front of a live-stream, ready to intervene where required. This would…