The world of technology innovations continues to move forward. New advancements are being made every day. The development and progress being made with autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, is no exception. Though similar, there are going to be very different applications for self-driving trucks vs. self-driving cars. So here we’re going to look at what’s on the horizon for self-driving trucks.
The landscape is full of potential and new companies looking to get involved. Several of the biggest brands in the world are working to hone this technology to improve trucking efficiency, and ultimately make the roads a safer place for all drivers. Google, Tesla, and Daimler to name a few. Google has been testing self-driving cars since 2011, and their Waymo trucks since 2017. There is evidence that Amazon has been testing deliveries since early 2019. In May 2019, the US Postal Service tested self-driving trucks running loads between Phoenix and Dallas for 2 weeks. Just last month, a Florida based robotics company sent their first truck onto the interstate for 10 miles via remote control.
Truck platooning is a great application of self-driving technology
Platooning has already been tested for a few years.
By using a lead truck with an actual driver, several self-driving trucks follow closely behind, creating less congestion for other vehicles on the road. Since all of the trucks brake and accelerate in complete unison with the lead driver, helping overall traffic flow and delivery times.
Some might jump to a conclusion that self-driving trucks are going to put current CDL truck drivers out of a job. But this is simply not true. This technology is still very new and needs significant vetting. Presently, most self-driving programs have a driver controlling the wheel, but the computers are controlling everything else. And even when trucks move to being fully unmanned on long highway stretches, drivers still will jump-in and take over in more congested areas.
There’s a lot of potential in the future of this technology. Many companies are making great strides in testing and bringing self-driving trucks to daily life.
But there’s still a lot of work to be done
And some companies once committed to it, have already gotten out of the game. Uber had committed but now is reallocating resources to autonomous car technology and development.
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