The trucking industry is facing a series of challenges that are impacting current operations and casting a shadow over its future. These include high fuel costs, which make up either the first- or second-largest expense for truck operators; a driver shortage that's expected to only worsen in the future; and strict industry regulations that limit how much a driver can drive in a day.
Advanced and autonomous technology will enable operators and shipping firms to eradicate some of the challenges that have long plagued them. Innovative technologies will allow trucks to take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.
The impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry will come in three major waves:
In the first wave, companies will be able to put multiple trucks together in platoons, using sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to allow trucks to drive in proximity to one another, leading to reduced fuel use and lowering the amount of effort needed from drivers.
In the second wave, fleet operators will start to use semi-autonomous advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that will gradually but fundamentally change the role of the driver in trucking, prompting changes to regulation that will cut down delivery times and lower personnel costs.