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The New Generation Driverless Trucks

Key Takeaways:

  • Introduction Driving a heavy-duty truck is a skilled profession
  • Self-driving trucks will need a tech-savvy driver in the cab
  • Need for implementing self-driving trucks
  • Benefits of autonomous vehicles for fleet companies:
  • Impact of Automation in trucking
  • Inference
  • Matrack – the leading name for innovated tracking solutions

Introduction

The futuristic innovation in driverless vehicles has been on the trend, with truck manufacturers expecting increased sales in the coming years. Manufacturers like Daimler, Volvo, Tesla, and Otto have developed and are testing driverless trucks. With numerous arguments and debates going on, suggesting that autonomous vehicles could effectively eliminate the truck driving profession, fleet companies are in strategic plans to implement automated vehicles for their logistics business. But how effective could a robotic truck be? Keep reading further to know more.

What is a self-driving truck or an autonomous truck?

Self-driving trucks are trucks that requires no human to drive it. Self-driving trucks are also known as autonomous trucks or robo trucks. Trucking companies are already testing the driverless vehicles in the public roads in America.

Driving a heavy-duty truck is a skilled profession

Every job has its respect and value. Driving a heavy-duty truck requires skill and intuition, especially when you are driving on a long-distance highway. Many industry experts and truck developers expect that self-driving vehicles will soon be able to operate autonomously on national roads. Still, it will take far longer or several decades to launch driverless trucks in traffic-jammed streets with unexpected challenges. 

If you have driven a heavy-duty truck, you will know how challenging it is. Can an artificial intelligence act like humans and negotiate construction zones, mountain passes, or bad weather? What happens if the tyre blows out. Humans are very good at tackling a situation and responding immediately. But computers, on the other hand, need to be coded well to handle all odd cases. But the developers claim a solution for that as well. 

Self-driving trucks will need a tech-savvy driver in the cab

Even after arguments and oppositions for autonomous vehicles are going on, most experts agree that the level of automated trucks can handle even the abnormal situations, provided a tech-savvy driver is monitoring the control. For instance, a Level 4 autonomous vehicle, which could be rolled out commercially in the next 3 or 4 years, can drive in most situations but need a human to take the wheel in the event of bad weather or construction. 

Need for implementing self-driving trucks 

Truck driving is not an easy job and requires a good amount of experience and skill. With a workforce aging out to retire in the coming years, the trucking industry faces a major problem of the diminished number of skilled drivers in the sector. Here are some of the biggest causes that urge for the need for driverless trucks:

  • Drivers aging out – According to the American Transportation Research Institute, today’s truck drivers are nearing the age of retirement in the next 5-10 years, which cannot be replaced by young drivers, as there is a shortage of skilled drivers in the industry.
  • Problematic working conditions – not everyone likes to work for a job that requires you to work 24/7 and stay away from your family and friends. Adding to that, you can also not take breaks and work as it can affect your delivery targets and time frame. Due to this, truck drivers also face health risks such as lack of sleep, body and neck pain, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, and other physical challenges.
  • Rules and regulations – a truck driver have certain responsibilities that need to be strictly followed. These include GPS tracking solutions, asset tracking devices, Electronic logging devices, etc. Many drivers struggle to meet the requirements of the fleet companies. These rules are intended to protect all drivers on the road, amidst any emergency crisis. 

Benefits of autonomous vehicles for fleet companies:

Some fleet companies have started taking self-driving vehicles on tracks and even on open highways. Compared to the conventional truck driving, autonomous truck driving promises to bring greater efficiency to the trucking market. following are the advantages of self-driving trucks:

  • Autonomous trucks are best suited to use during off-peak hours, where there is comparatively les traffic in the road. It also helps to reduce traffic jam caused by heavy-duty vehicles while on the track.
  • One of the best things about driverless trucks is that they don’t need to take breaks and rest like human truckers due to drowsiness and sleepiness, causing truck accidents. 
  • When it comes to safety, self-driving vehicles bring in many safety features. Every year, hundreds of trucks are involved in crashes and accidents, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. But thanks to the advanced technology in autonomous trucks that they can reduce the number of accidents. This is because the drivers don’t get easily tired in a driverless vehicle and travel during the least busy times of the day. With the help of a tech-savvy driver, he can control and manage any unforeseen crisis or situation. 

Impact of Automation in the trucking industry – 4 ways that likely automation changes the trucking sector

  • Fleet companies are keen on launching self-driving trucks for long-distance asset transportation, especially on the highway. Even though driverless vehicles can be used for long-distance highway driving, humans will be needed to handle many non-driving tasks like fuelling, inspections, paperwork, loading/unloading, coupling tractors, and trailers. 
  • Automation in trucks can replace most non-specialized long-distance drivers losing around 294,000 driver jobs. The long-distance drivers who do heavy-duty vehicle driving along with loading and other combined jobs know nothing more than driving, hence making it vulnerable to automation. This means, up to 51,000 less-than-truckload drivers are at risk, in addition to 32,000 parcel drivers. 
  • Splitting trucking into halfway driving and halfway autonomous driving will encourage the digitization of freight matching with the potential for intense pressure of driver earnings. Breaking trips between autonomous trucks and human driving trucks helps drivers go back home each night, simplifying the overload matching problems. 

Inference:

A driverless heavy-duty vehicle on highways will not create much of a problem unless the truck is driving through a congested traffic zone area. And hence it doesn’t require a driver in the vehicle. A techy driver who has pretty good knowledge in controlling the driving system can control the whole driving mechanism from a remote location far away from the truck. Instead of having a driver behind the wheels, there comes controlling the truck like playing a video game. While some fleet companies are developing self-driving trucks that would need a driver’s assistance in some aspect, the need for skilled drivers would go down drastically in the coming years. 

Matrack – The leading name for innovated tracking solutions in the trucking industry

As long as there is a need for groceries and supermarket goods, the fleet industry keeps booming, and the demand for GPS tracking solutions increases. Installing reliable and privacy-secured GPS solutions are essential. With the urge for driver security and tracking asset tracking solutions, installing from a reputable company like Matrack simplifies your asset tracking job. Also, the company’s ELD book is a big hit that allows for entries related to a driver’s record of duty status to comply with the hours of service compliance. The Matrack’s ELD logbook is DOT compliant and listed in FMCSA’s ELD approved list. Its voice recognition feature helps drivers update their status changes. Also, the GPS tracking solutions from Matrack let the fleet managers know where the exact location and time of the asset’s status. 

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