What Will The World Be Like Without Truck Drivers?
With everything going on in the world right now, it can be hard to remember that in some ways, the world is continuing on like it was before: our power is still on, our internet still works, and the goods we rely on are still being hauled around the country.
In fact, the importance of shipping has hardly ever been felt as strongly as it is now. Commercial trucks are among the only vehicles allowed across the border, and they’ve been delivering food and other goods to supermarkets and stores, keeping the shelves stocked. It’s clear that the trucks are important to the supply chain – but what about the truck drivers themselves?
The Future Of Self-Driving Trucks
Whether you support the idea or not, the fact is that driverless semis are becoming more common and more capable all the time. Once laughed at as an impossible idea, the development of smart computers and adaptive learning software has paved the way for self-driving vehicles that are, in many cases, more responsive than a human operator. However, there are some definite limitations to their deployment.
Regulations And Laws Of Autonomous Trucks
As you can imagine, anything that allows a multi-ton, fast-moving piece of machinery to head down a highway without a human in control needs a lot of safety systems and regulations to ensure it can control itself. But due to the nature of development, it can be hard to standardize those laws and systems across multiple types of trucks and companies.
In November of 2019, a driverless truck drove more than 4,400 km across the United States – and that was only possible because it could “see” a mile ahead of itself, thanks to its suite of cameras, radar, and other high-tech solutions. It made the trip, but did not encounter large hazards like blizzards along the way, and it’s hard to say how the vehicle would have fared. There is still no standard of what these trucks need to have in terms of safety, and that must be in place before their usage becomes widespread.
Possible Cost Savings Of Self-Driving Trucks
When the trucks are able to be widely used, though, look out for big cost savings. From reduced freight times, to better insurance rates (if the technology allows for safer operation), to decreases in the prices of products delivered, to not paying an actual driver, the potential costs could decrease substantially if these trucks became more common. And in a world that’s always trying to get the most value out of every dollar, that’s a big incentive to invest in these technologies, even at an early stage.
Driving With The Internet Of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of smart devices that are all connected within our lives, and the trucks of tomorrow will be no different. Imagine being able to see where the truck with your package is, on a real-time video feed, from your phone. If you’re a logistics or delivery worker, you could track your freight instantly, and make smarter decisions about loading, unloading, and manpower needed on the fly. Business owners could check on speed, safety, road conditions, maintenance needs, and much more, all from the convenience of an app or program.
We’re not quite there yet – there’s still quite a bit of research to be done and testing to be performed before we can say that the road belongs to these futuristic trucks. But hey – at least we have the not-quite-driverless Tesla Semi to hold us over until then!