In the last year, the trucking industry has seen some of the most critical regulation changes to come in the previous decade. However, the future of trucking may not be affected by those regulations as much as previously believed if the actual future of trucking is autonomous. Autonomous has become a buzzword within not only the trucking industry but in within so many other industries that it’s almost become expected that automation will be factored in somehow.
At the recent SMC3 Jump Start conference, Steve Banker spoke in front of trucking and logistics officials about the prospects and future of autonomous trucking. The current expectation is true; complete autonomous will not be present within the industry for at least another decade or so. The real focus for implementing autonomy should be in a limited capacity rather than expecting a fully autonomous implementation.
The issue with autonomous implementation is that cities and urban areas are essentially no go areas for true autonomous trucks. The congested streets are not easy for trucks to navigate with human drivers but with fully autonomous drivers might be too much to expect anytime soon. Couple that with the fact that e-commerce is driving warehouses to be built in more urban areas so that deliveries can happen quicker for all online orders.
The future focus of autonomy outside of limited implementation should be the last mile delivery autonomy. This last mile of delivery will become more and more critical as same-day delivery becomes the focus of freight as the need for expediency is further focused on. Autonomy isn’t where it needs to be just yet, but the future is bright for self-driving freight, even if that future is more than a decade away.
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