Whether it’s coming from Google, Apple, Uber or others, self-driving vehicles are going to be a major game changer in the next few years. These autonomous vehicles are sure to interject themselves into many industries, but one that is bound to be hit the hardest is the shipping and transport industry. Every day truckers log thousands of hours driving across the country transporting goods from warehouse to warehouse, but what if drivers weren’t needed?
If these shipment trucks could get from point A to point B without the need for drivers, how would this affect the industry? One of the biggest changes to come would of course be the hit to workforce. Currently there are over 3 million truck drivers in the USA alone, so this would be quite devastating to the job market. The pros of autonomous trucks would come in shipment companies’ savings as the need for skilled truck drivers would be diminished, the roads would be safer, as so far self-driving vehicles have safer driving records than manned vehicles, and it would also allow shipment managers to better manage their shipment scheduling, as you don’t have to worry about taking into account the sleeping / eating needs of the drivers.
Shipment managers are perhaps some of the most excited for this new technology to become mainstream. Currently, there are apps and software platforms that provide freight tracking solutions that give real-time information and updates on shipments for transport carriers and brokers, but in the future these apps may be even more versatile. They could integrate full shipment automation that would allow the managers to set start times for shipments and have the ability to plan routes well in advance all from their office – without having to spend the additional time in coordinating with drivers.
The technology needed to allow completely autonomous shipping trucks is still quite a bit down the line, but it is something that those in the shipment industry need to keep on their radar. Tech companies are racing to be the first to unveil completely self-driving vehicles, when will their goal be reached? It’s too early to say with certainty, but it is probably closer than you may think.