While most companies are focused upon building self driving passenger cars, certain automakers have quietly applied the same technology to build the next generation trucks. Former secretary-general of the International Transport Forum, José Viegas revealed that driverless trucks could be a regular presence on many roads within the next 10 years.
Volvo Group already has a fully automated truck operating in Kristineberg mine in Sweden. It also recently demonstrated a fully driverless truck in China that can drive between delivery hubs without the need for a human operator. For truck-makers and their haulage customers, the potential upside from removing drivers is huge in the slim-margin world of shifting goods.
Autonomous driving will not lead necessarily to fewer trucks on the road, it should just mean the truck driver can be eliminated, reducing the operating costs and also increase fuel savings.
– Analyst Report, HSBC
Automated trucks may solve another problem too: a chronic shortage of suitable drivers. The industry overall has been struggling to recruit, with potential employees put off by the long stints away from home and the tedium of hours of motorway driving.