Self Driving Trucks Are Coming

The future is coming, interest in auto tech has risen dramatically in recent years. Tesla founder Elon Musk just announced that the company’s electric semi truck will be revealed this Thursday, November 16. Last year, more than a dozen self-driving trucks made by six of Europe’s largest manufacturers arrived in in the Dutch port of Rotterdam. The trucks were equipped with state-of-the-art driving support systems – one closely following the other. Multiple companies are now testing driverless trucks and using advanced technologies. Self driving trucks are coming, but humans will still be needed to manage these self-driving technologies.

Already, driverless trucks are being used to move iron ore at mines in Australia, and the Canadian energy company Suncor Energy is working to automate its operations toward driverless heavy-haul trucks. It started testing these types of trucks in 2013. Otto, a San Francisco-based self-driving truck company, acquired by Uber in August 2016, completed the first commercial shipment by driverless truck. The vehicle, a Volvo semi outfitted with Otto’s self-driving kit, delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer on a 120-mile journey without a human at the wheel.

Long-haul commercial trucks are responsible for delivering nearly 70% of goods in America. Trucking industry revenues were $726bn in 2015, more than the sales of Google, Amazon and Walmart combined. In the US, by law truckers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8 hour break, but a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. Self-driving trucks will affect an enormous number of blue-collar workers. There are 1.8 million trucking jobs in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.