When most of us think of self-driving vehicles, we tend to focus more on personal vehicles or ride sharing. However, the launch of autonomous delivery vehicles and big rigs that travel extended distances might be the understated technology that boosts the entire market.
Almost 4 million people could be impacted from the ongoing push towards autonomous truck driving, and that’s only counting the drivers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.
Analysts expect a major disruption that will greatly impact the entire trucking industry – and many leaders are still in noticeable denial. This hesitancy is rather disconcerting, but some analysts believe the industry will match technological evolution, including autonomous truck driving.
More information, industry input, and more available after the jump …
FedEx, which is testing its own autonomous solutions, along with increasing driver-assist functionality in its current fleet, believes there are new opportunities that will be augmented – but humans must sill be involved in critical steps of the process.
Last December, San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Rob Carter, FedEx CIO, and he had this to say about the autonomous future:
“Luddites smashed looms 200 years ago because they thought they would do away with their craft. The reality is, work always evolves to adapt to technology.
Navigating the terminals and roads leading to interstates will require a lot of driver interaction for quite some time to come; drivers also have a lot of interaction with their cargo. Once you get on the highway, where driving can be a monotonous task, we think automated vehicles have the potential to take over, improving safety and driver quality of life.”
Autonomous vehicles are a reality that drivers and the auto industry have no choice but to embrace. In addition, the safety and regulatory concerns alone will require a bit of time and effort. The roads in urban areas are so congested already, bringing stretches of self-driving only lanes could help ease traffic congestion.
(Image courtesy of Daimler AG)