When on the brink of change, the best thing we can do is research and wait. Any industry who does makes it happen bit by bit. There’s no need to have autonomous upheaval be so immediate and ruthless. Rather, phase that sort of thing in. That’s what an industry panel believes is the right course-of-action to do with autonomous trucking. The technology, while promising, is relatively new and widely untrustworthy as of yet. So to assume that the world is ready for something as unpredictable as autonomous operations is already premature in this instance. There has to be stronger indications. Stronger than that to show that it’s the real deal from afar and not in theory.
What is Autonomous Trucking anyway?
Basically, it’s a truck under the control of transporting cargo far distances without a physical entity seated in the driver’s seat. Almost like a robot operating the truck itself, except even beta versions of this technology, are leading us to believe otherwise. With a human controlling the truck from a remote location, this wouldn’t fall far from the tree of satellite-controlled drones for the military.
As recently as 2018, the United States Department of Transportation made a statement. “No new regulations are required for automated motor vehicles to hit the road.” This is to say the technology still is a whiles-away. It will take some time to be a commercially-viable tool for logistics companies and independent contractors alike to use seriously.
But when you ask Dan Goff, Kodiak Robotics’ director of policy, he affirms otherwise. That the team there can confirm a 10% increase of using fuel efficiently in autonomous truck tests, rather than manual powering. Kodiak does daily trips for commercial customers. He believes that the benefits are almost unbelievable. “That’s a huge amount of diesel fuel across America’s trucking fleet.”
However, any accident would set Autonomous Vehicles (AV) as an industry way back. Here’s hoping nothing like that ever happens… Again.