Driverless technology has extended to cars, pickup trucks, and now commercial trucks that take up most of the road. This means that there is no driver controlling the vehicle, or there may be a driver who is monitoring the system but not steering the wheel. Autonomous trucking is already here, but many people wonder if it will grow or decline in popularity.
The Present State of Driverless Trucks
Autonomous trucking has already appeared in a small percentage of trucking companies. Prototypes are being driven out on the public roads. Driverless trucks save companies tens of thousands of dollars a year. The companies that manufacture these vehicles make millions per year. However, the livelihoods of countless truck drivers are at risk.
The Importance of Road Tests
In the U.S. alone, truckers transport the majority of the country's goods for retail stores, office buildings, homes, restaurants and most other businesses. Trucking is a necessary part of life, but many people are concerned about 30,000 pounds of steel speeding down a crowded road with no driver. For this reason, many companies are going through test modes. And the tests are proving to be successful for the most part.
Growing Confidence in its Technology
During tests, it's recommended that a real-life trucker sits in the passenger seat as a backup driver. Truckers with decades of experience are confident in the technology's efficiency. Brand-name retail and shipping companies use autonomous trucks that cost nearly $250,000. This cost is not too expensive compared to paying the annual salaries of several truckers, which vary from $40,000 to $60,000. In addition, automated trucks can reach their destinations in fewer days with fewer breaks.
TuSimple is one type of company that has fleets working on the road. The computer system collects a large amount of data, including maps and driving routes. This collective data is used to improve its driving performance on the road and make it more superior than that of a human.
The workdays of commercial truck drivers are numbered as they are gradually being replaced by smart technology. Autonomous cars and trucks are real and being used for personal and commercial purposes. In the future, drivers should expect to see more of these high-tech vehicles on public roads and highways.