Truck driving is a difficult job for a number of reasons. From the long driving hours, to back pain, truck stop food, and making sure you hit your marks— it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Because of these factors, and many others, there’s a large need for drivers within the field. Furthermore, because there’s a large need for truck drivers and not too many applicants, many companies are looking for other solutions. That’s where self-driving trucks come in. The idea would be to automate certain parts of the long-haul, and there are many practical uses for this new technology…
Self-driving Trucks: Practical Uses for the Technology
The first concern that current truckers might have about this technology is what becomes of my job? Well, the idea would be for these automated systems to work alongside truckers, rather than eliminate them altogether. While, to most, this may feel skeptical, this idea has been central to development from the start…
Taking Over the highways
One of the most practical uses for this technology, is to allow them to take over on the highways. In the case of a self-driving vehicle, highways present the ideal condition. Think about it: No stoplights, street crossings, practically a straight shot, and a mostly steady flow of traffic. In short, besides traffic patterns, driving on the highway doesn’t present too many obstacles. Not to mention, these are some of the most dangerous stretches for a driver to drive on. It’s long, unchanging, and can become hypnotic— especially to a tired driver. Therefore, by taking this bit out of their route, it gives drivers a chance to rest up. Which, in turn, can reduce the number of driver fatigue accidents.
Being that drivers would now have a chance to better maintain their rest, trucking safety and awareness should increase quite a bit. Furthermore, these self-driving trucks recognize a 360 degree view of the traffic around them. Therefore, it’s less of a guessing game when it comes to switching lanes, and interacting with the vehicles around them.
Gain great fuel efficiency
According to several studies, self-driving trucks should reduce fuel cost by roughly 10%. One way companies intend to do this is by driving their trucks in a tight line. By sticking to this formation, trucks should experience less wind resistance and get better gas mileage. Because the vehicle is self-driving, it would be able to better accomplish this than, say, a driver could.
The practical uses for self-driving trucks are more of what is the industry is focusing on. At some point, the trucks may be able to operate fully without drivers. But for now, makers are concerned with improving the quality and production of the driver, not ousting them completely.