What self-driving trucks mean for the future of transportation

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Submitted by Kristina Emery Johnson on 10/03/2020

We all know that self-driving cars, they have been around for some time now and they are well known, but self-driving trucks are a whole different story. Just like with the implementation of GPS technologies, self driving trucks will revolutionise the world of transportation. The first announcements of self-driving trucks started to arise in the year 2019. This new technology would mean a lot for the world of transportation as this basically means that this technology would automise 90% of the transportation process for trucks. Although the technology and software for self-driving cars has existed for some time now, implementing that type of technology to trucks wasn’t as simple as just taking the same software used for self-driving cars and putting that same software into a truck.

 The reason being that you have to account for more things when driving a truck, both the dimensions and the weight of a truck can vary from trip to trip, there are more forces you have to calculate which implies more math to analyze and translate to the real world. One of the advantages of ease that is presented with self driving trucks compared to self driving cars is that due to them being mostly on highways the pathing that has to be calculated for their routes will take less computational processing, than if it were to be in a city where there are plenty of possible paths that a car could take. But now that they have reached this milestone they need to start looking ahead, to the future, and see how this new technology will affect the world of transportation. First thing they should look at is one of the most important stakeholders in this situation: truck drivers accounting for about 3.5 million people.

 With the implementation of this technology there will not be too much of a need for truck drivers, well there would be but they would not be driving for the bigger part of the journey, instead the company should be looking to have someone who can fix both the vehicle and be capable of using as well as repairing the self driving software and even that might be overkill. As proven in most drive tests done with self driving trucks no human interaction was needed apart from fuel stops from time to time. Truck drivers would have trained to be that person they could be used for roads that are still not available for self driving trucks to ride on, and they could look to review and give feedback on how the software drives as opposed to how they would drive so they can optimise the technology as much as possible.

 There are some perks that will come from this apart from the obvious self-driving no need for driver thing. Since the software could be running 24/7 there would not be need to make stops for the driver to sleep, as the person operating the vehicle can sleep as the truck is driving itself. This would mean that transportation done in trucks would essentially be faster if the journey would be performed in a shorter amount of time. This would also mean that there would be less accidents from tired drivers and just human errors in general, no unexpected variables to take into account like the driver having a medical issue and many other inconsistencies involving humans.

 There could be a case to be made for bugs that could occur but the difference with bugs is that once you track them down and fix them, that same problem will not be repeated again. Implementing self-driving in A-1 Auto Transport By implementing this technology into auto transport trucks, most of the benefits mentioned above would apply to this industry as well such as time efficiency. Although some other considerations and factors would have to be taken into account, for example a person would still be needed to load the vehicle into one of the other trucks. As mentioned above most of the journey of a normal truck would be self-driven but with an auto transportation truck it is often needed to dive deeper into the city to deliver the product, regardless most of the journey would still be done automatically just not big of a percentage as normal trucks.

 Currently only a few companies have access to this technology as they have had to develop it themselves, so either A-1 Auto Transport would have to team up with a business which currently has that technology or develop it themselves like everyone else. This would obviously not be a cheap project, but the possibility is there, a risk would have to be taken to later profit and it has already been proven by other companies that it is an achievable goal; so the question: “is it a possibility?” has already been answered now it's just a matter of making it, knowing that this is in fact a possibility removes some risk to it.

 In conclusion, self driving trucks is not just an idea anymore but a reality, it has proven that this will come with some benefits, mainly being able to cut down travel time as there won’t be a need to take too many rest stops nor will they take too long while in a rest stop. Although at first it might look as though most if not all truck drivers would lose their job, it's kind of the opposite as this will make their job easier just like GPSs did; since self driving technology is hard to do in a city that’s where most of the trucks driver’s job will come into play or even if the program for some reason fails or can not drive in a certain area the truck driver can take over the control. This technology could be implemented into A-1 Auto Transport but they would have to develop it themselves as currently no one is sharing the backbone of the work that has been done in self driving trucks.

Submitted by Kristina Emery Johnson on 10/03/2020

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