Trucking Automation is Coming Soon to a Highway Near You

Everyone’s talking about it. It seems like a distant reality, but it’s closer than you think. The economic implications are vast, spanning the loss of revenue to training schools, truck stops, and other industries that serve human drivers. The slow adoption of autonomous trucks could help us avoid an economic disaster, but it’s possible that the rush to replace drivers with computers could push us back into the danger zone.

As shipping companies vie to remain competitive and relevant, they are aware of other company’s efforts to automate and feel the pressure to be first. In this case, first place gets a big prize in the form of being on the cutting edge of the shipping industry.

The New York Time Article, titled Self Driving Trucks May Be Closer Than They Appear, said it best.

“The industry’s size makes it a fat target for automation. Autonomous technology will help trucking companies reduce labor costs in the long run, first by extending the number of hours trucks are in operation, and later, by reducing the number of drivers. The industry spends billions of dollars a year on accidents that are largely caused by human error, and billions more on insurance premiums that should go down if and when self-driving technology is proven to be safer than human drivers.

The result is a furious race not just to develop self-driving trucks, but to get them on the road and making money. The chief executive of Waymo, the self-driving car unit owned by Google’s parent company, has said that self-driving trucks may emerge before self-driving taxis.”

Read more here.