In these times of technological advancements, automation is the key to every operation. The idea is to save time on all functional segments. This is why the transportation business in the United States is experiencing a surge in automation needs.
In this context, self-driving trucks are the most common innovation. They are already here in different parts of the country. Self-driven trucks will not only save time in transportation and logistics but will also change the nature of the largest industries in the country.
Advantages of Self-Driving Trucks
One of the primary reasons for the involvement of automation in the trucking industry is the presence of unfilled driver positions. According to the American Trucking Association, an estimated 160,000 driver positions are expected to go unfilled. This creates a huge gap between demand and supply. In this regard, automation in the trucking industry is the answer to this challenge. Logistics, transportation, and trucking companies are going that extra mile to overcome this shortage. Consequently, automation is being widely accepted across the region.
One of the biggest advantages offered by the concept of self-driven trucks is the increased efficiency of freight transportation and delivery. The idea is that transportation companies can transfer more freight with the same or lesser number of drivers. Also, the fact that these trucks can ply at night and off-peak hours ensures that peak time traffic is reduced in the busier cities. In addition, unlike truck drivers, these trucks do not have to take breaks every now and then. These machines are fit to ply for long duration.
One other aspect of truck automation lies in reducing the chances of accidents. Truck accidents are common and every year, this leads to the death of hundreds and thousands of people. Self-driven trucks can actually better equipped to avoid collisions and crashes. They do not get tired and come with built-in sensors that can actually signal an impending danger in advance.
Examples of Self-Driving Trucks
At present, only a few trucking companies in the United States are actually using the innovation of self-driven trucks. One such example is a Tu Simple trucking company. They are investing most of their resourcing in using automated trucks to be transferring freight day and night. Ever since their inception in 2015, they are concentrating most of their effort on the United States Postal Service. And they have been conducting rather successful assignments with the help of these self-driven trucks.
There is one important factor to be considered here. While we are all habituated with the traditional concept of driver-driven trucks. Eventually, the transition process to the automated versions will not be an easy one. A lot of cushioning activities are being taken up in order to make this transition process a smooth one.
Let us consider the example of Arizona. In this particular state, the trucking industry has been welcoming the concept of automation in the trucking industry. At present, 37 self-driven trucks are in motion in order to increase productivity in the transportation industry. However, in order to move into this automated technique, they are currently experimenting and testing with trained truck drivers behind the wheels of these self-driven vehicles.
Initially, a trip across the country was taking a full 5 day period. This means if goods were to be transferred in a cross-country manner, the trucks and the truck drivers would have to be available for the entire period of 5 days. However, this is what automation is here to change. All thanks to the onset of self-driven trucks, a vehicle can actually go around the country in 2 days. And to add to that, no driver needs to be occupied at the wheels. Also, you can send out these trucks at any time during the day and even in the late hours at night. The advantage here is that you get to avoid the traffic and congestion on the roads.
This is done with an attempt to ensure that the move from the conventional methods to modern methods goes without too many hiccups. In the uneventful situation when the self-driven truck malfunctions, the trained drivers are all prepared to take over the wheels and save the day. However, the good thing here is that so far all the test runs have been positive and successful. This means Arizona trucks are well-equipped to take on the new mode of freight transportation with the help of automation techniques.
.Challenges Faced by Self-Driven Trucks
However, the one big problem with these self-driven trucks is the resistance they get from the current truck drivers. The latter is threatened by the incorporation of computers and automation in this particular business segment, fearing a loss of jobs. This is one of the biggest challenges. Some analysts have been well equipped to contest this belief. The presence of automation only opens the doors for a more efficient trucking business. As a result, more professional and skilled drivers will be required to take part in the business. The hours saved directly relates to more demand and thus a blooming transportation industry.
But one of the hardest challenges faced by the concept of automation in any industry is the progressive decline of job openings. This is a common misconception that incorporating automation in any business directly leads to a loss of employment. However, the truth is far from this fact. If anything, automation tends to make any job more attractive and appealing. This is why the entry of self-driven trucks can only make the transportation industry a more exciting business segment to be working in. It is, however, not an industry that can totally do away with human involvement. It will always need the human touch and thus working here will be less laborious and more exciting.
Self-driven trucks are the future of the transportation industry and it is a good idea to prepare accordingly. Increased training and automation lessons are the need of the hour.