Autonomous driving has the potential to transform many aspects of society. Most who picture self-driving vehicles will conjure up images of an automobile that brings them wherever they want to go, while they sit and work on a laptop or leisurely read a book. However, the technology will arguably have an even greater impact on commercial trucking. Autonomous driving in the freight industry may become a reality soon, and firms are scrambling to make the best use of it.
With self-driving trucks becoming a viable concept, more companies are researching the concept and launching their own pilot programs. Startups and automotive giants alike are attempting to utilize and refine the technology for their own uses. According to Popular Mechanics, Chinese company Plus.ai recently made a cross-country journey with a semi-truck equipped with an autonomous driving system. The three-day trip spanned from Tulare, California (a town roughly equidistant between Los Angeles and San Francisco) to Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The cargo? Sticks of butter.
This demonstration is only the latest in a long line of self-guided trucking accomplishments. While more cynical commentators would note that these are simply marketing stunts, in reality, they mean that this technology could soon be ready for mass adoption. CNBC reports that autonomous trucks are likely to hit the market before their passenger vehicle brethren. Self-driving commercial vehicles bring with them many benefits, and from a macroeconomic perspective, they have the potential to transform the entire field of logistics.
What benefits will self-guided trucks bring?
One major benefit of self-guided trucks for freight companies is their effect on labor costs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. trucking industry is currently suffering from a severe shortage of labor. Rather than attempting to fix this foundational problem, companies are hoping this technology will erase the need for labor altogether.
The BLS also notes that trucking is an industry with high turnover rates. Self-driving trucks eliminate the problem of the labor shortage and the costs associated with paying drivers and finding new ones, allowing companies to build up cash reserves more easily.
And, of course, self-driving trucks bring with them the benefits that all such vehicles will hopefully possess: Roads become safer due to there being less room for human error. This is especially important in the trucking industry, as drivers are routinely subjected to long hours, which increases the risk of accidents. Congestion is additionally relieved thanks to the efficient operation of these freight trucks.
Trucking and many other industries are changing thanks to emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the ways we do business. YES Partners has the worldwide reach, expertise and diverse breadth of services to help organizations in their efforts find the executives and additional talent they need to stay on top of this dynamic environment. To see some of the roles that YES Partners has already successfully placed, click here.
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