While self-driving cars have dominated automobile tech news for a number of years now, we are beginning to see more and more dialogue around self-driving technology as it pertains to the trucking transportation industry. Technology, in general, has dominated the headlines within our industry of late––and driverless technology may become a more prevalent talking point in coming months as companies like Uber, Tesla and Volvo continue to funnel cash into Research and Design.
By some estimates, driverless technology will inject approximately $7 Trillion into the global economy while saving hundreds of thousands of lives, once implemented on a large scale. When in comes to self-driving trucks, there are two divergent philosophies being espoused by technologists: 1) technology aiding human drivers and 2) fully autonomous trucks that replace driers altogether. It may be worth noting here that many in our industry––as well as lawmakers and the general population––view the latter outlook with valid consternation. Many believe that robotics have a place in supporting drivers but removing drivers altogether would pose significant safety risks on the roads.
The widespread roll out of either possibility is still a ways off, as the technology still has to be tested and perfected––and regulations within transportation governance will need a vast review and overhaul. In the meantime, the move toward reduced oil dependence via electric trucks and computer systems that better track inventory in real-time across platforms are more realistic examples of technologies that will see implementation over the next couple years. Until then, keep an eye on headlines related to advancements in autonomous driving trucks as there will undoubtedly be numerous announcements and breakthroughs throughout 2018.