Will self-driving trucks change the freight industry?
There’s simply no replacement for an experienced driver. That’s why a concept called "self-driving" trucks has emerged—as a way to make drivers’ lives easier and safer. The idea is, letting drivers step back while still keeping a close eye on the road can reduce risks caused by fatigue. Obviously there are business implications for freight moving companies and even corporate moving companies, who potentially may benefit from reduced liabilities and increased efficiency.
Called the Freightliner Inspiration by Daimler, there are only two of these self-driving trucks in existence. If the concept takes off, freight moving companies and other transportation providers might employ vehicles like these using radar and cameras to keep within their lanes and prevent forward accidents. The trucks would only self-drive on interstates, whereas city and suburban routes would require complete driver control. By design, drivers could also take the wheel over anytime. Exactly how well the trend will be adopted by a range of transportation providers, including corporate moving companies, is unknown, though Daimler’s head of commercial truck operations Wolfgang Bernhard says adoption is inevitable.
Self-driving trucks aren’t expected to hit the road anytime soon. Laws varying state by state will be one obstacle to their widespread adoption.
There are a few reasons why freight moving companies and corporate moving companies might consider self-driving trucks.
One benefit of self-driving trucks is "safe distraction." Drivers can take their eyes off the road temporarily to get in touch with their families during long trips, make reservations for overnight stops, and even handle some work tasks via a built-in tablet. Another benefit to freight moving companies and corporate moving companies may be an efficient way to work with new Hours of Service rules that limit the amount of time drivers can actively be behind the wheel. These trucks may also offer a form of green transportation, allowing trucks to line up in "platoons" that, by limiting wind resistance, improve fuel economy.
Along with these pros, there also are potential cons to self-driving trucks. For one, it’s hard to imagine a machine that can be trained to handle unusual situations with the expert judgment of veteran drivers.
Time will tell how quickly or eagerly the industry adopts self-driving trucks. Regardless, skilled drivers will always be in demand.
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