The auto industry itself is constantly changing, and with it so does the auto transport industry. Companies that make a living out of shipping vehicles are constantly on the lookout for the "next big thing." Why?
Several reasons, actually:
- They hope it can make the process more efficient
- If it’s more efficient, it will likely cost less money
- This can result in the service becoming more accessible, which means more clients
- Hopefully, the risks of transporting vehicles are lowered as well
- And finally, if they don’t jump on the bandwagon fast, they can struggle to catch up with their competitors.
As you may have guessed, the next big thing in the auto shipping industry has to do with technology. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about how AI (Artificial Intelligence) will change the way cars operate. But there’s also a possibility for the auto transport industry to embrace AI, hoping to tick every box of the list presented above.
But, can that actually happen? And, if it does, what does it mean for you? Let’s discuss.
How Can AI Revamp the Auto Transport Industry?
AI is not only an exciting subject - but it’s also a divisive one. Some consider it the only future of the automotive industry that matters, while others are reasonably skeptical as to whether AI could actually be the solution the industry is hoping it is.
This division is mostly because the technology itself isn’t perfected yet, and still has a long way to go until you can expect to see it on the US roads. Still, it’s with taking a close look at the potential changes AI can bring.
Here are 4 possible changes AI could make in the auto transport industry:
1. Self-Driving Trucks
In all honesty, it’s the first thing anyone thinks of when you talk about AI in the automotive industry: cars or trucks that can drive themselves.
Autonomous vehicles used to be a concept reserved for Sci-Fi movies of very advanced societies, but the transportation sector is working hard to turn it into reality. Some prototypes do exist, and, for instance, in Tokyo, you can easily come across autonomous taxis, though for safety reasons you still have a real-person driver in the vehicle ready to step in if needed.
Could autonomous trucks be a thing in the auto shipping industry?
Maybe. It’s difficult to say with 100% certainty if that’s the case, or how it will look like in practice because the technology itself isn’t all there yet. You also have the issue of government regulations to consider here.
Specifically, whether the state would actually allow these trucks to be fully autonomous. Larger vehicles carrying heavy cargo already pose higher risks on the road, and a potential self-driving car could increase that risk if the technology isn’t fully able to predict and prevent dangers as promised. Perhaps autonomous trucks could be a thing with the mention that a human driver must be present inside the truck at all times.
2. Traffic Management
Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems US drivers face, and AI tech could potentially solve this problem. Sensors and cameras on the roads can collect traffic details, which can then be sent to the cloud where an AI can analyze the patterns and make predictions.
Specifically, it can make accurate predictions of which roads to take, allowing the trucks to travel freely without getting stuck on the road. This obviously means shipment gets to its destination faster, but it also lowers the risk of a potential accident, as it’s well-known traffic congestion actually increases the risk of collisions.
3. More Accurate Delivery Dates
This one is strongly connected to the previous perk, but it’s perhaps one of the biggest potential benefits of AI in the auto transportation world.
Right now, if you ship a vehicle across the US or internationally, chances are very low you will receive an exact time and date when your vehicle will arrive. You’ll likely get a date when the car is ready for pick-up, but that’s more of an estimation, as transport companies will take a 1-2 day buffer to ensure shipment isn’t delayed.
This is due to the unpredictable nature of transport. Without AI telling you which roads are clear, and which are likely to be congested, many drivers can be stuck in traffic for hours, especially if they drive in smaller city roads, or roads which are common commute routes.
Even potential delays can be predicted, as the AI can be able to take into account the time of year, weather conditions, and other spontaneous factors, run the numbers, and let you know how long it can take for the congestion to clear up.
4. Safer Shipments - Maybe
A car is not a cheap possession, so many clients want to make sure the company they choose for shipment can guarantee the safety of their car during transit. However, nobody can guarantee this. Some precautions can be taken, such as shipping in an enclosed truck, or having additional equipment to keep the car in place during transport, but that still leaves a lot of room for potential damage. The solution is, of course, having the right insurance to protect your assets.
But, could AI make these shipments safer? Promoters certainly think so, as special sensors installed directly on the vehicle may be able to predict risk and notify the driver instantly, giving them enough time to act and avoid it. This is not just a feature of autonomous cars, as these sensors can easily be installed on regular trucks as well.
So, What Does It All Mean for You?
If AI is ever widely accepted in the auto transport world that would firstly mean the technology has been tested enough for it to live up to its promises, which for you, the client, means:
- Lower shipping rates
- Lower waiting times
- Lower risks
- Happier experiences with auto shipping.
The whole point of AI is to make things better, though it remains to be seen when this technology is going to be safe enough for companies to actually adopt it, and how the state will regulate its usages.
In theory, at least, the next big thing in the auto transport world directly impacts you either way, even if you don’t need to ship a vehicle. The sheer fact that trucks may be able to safely travel across the country or beyond lowers your own risks of being behind the wheel. If AI can tell a truck which roads to take and when it can do the same for passenger vehicles as well.
So it’s worth following this subject as it continues to unfold.
What Do You Do Until Then?
Until we can have autonomous trucks handling these shipments on their own, you may still have a car that needs to be transported now. Here’s where we come in.
A-1 Auto Transport has 30 years of experience in the business, and though we continue to rely on human drivers to get the job done, we’ve always held our years close to the ground to adopt stances on modern technologies that help make the process a lot smoother.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.