Self-driving vehicles are getting a great deal of attention these days. Self-driving cars have now driven millions of miles on our roads, and self-driving trucks are close behind—figuratively speaking. Earlier this year, a Peterbilt truck made news by driving itself from California to Florida. It covered the 2,400 miles without input from a human driver and without incident 1.
Self-driving semi-trucks are being put to the test in the US, and the idea is that autonomous trucks could remedy a host of problems in the trucking industry 2. The most advanced autonomous trucks on the road are at level 4 – the vehicles can complete all driving tasks, but only in certain conditions (such as on a freeway) 3. Level 5 vehicles are being tested here and there, but they’re many years away from being ready for the road 3.
Self-driving trucks could help freight companies meet increased demand amid a nationwide driver shortage, while lowering costs, reducing fuel consumption, and boosting safety 4. However, it’s not easy to commercialize self-driving 18-wheelers, especially as investment capital dries up amid rising interest rates 5.
The coming of self-driving trucks means that companies will load up their semi-trailers with goods and send the truck on its way with nobody in the cab. Between now and then, maybe a driver rides along just in case, but that person can be doing other work while the rig’s sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) keep it safely on the road 1.
In conclusion, self-driving semi-trucks are the future of the trucking industry. They have the potential to remedy a host of problems in the trucking industry, including the driver shortage, while lowering costs, reducing fuel consumption, and boosting safety. However, it’s not easy to commercialize self-driving 18-wheelers, especially as investment capital dries up amid rising interest rates.