Self-driving cars from Tesla or Mercedes have revolutionized transportation. The concept of transportation got changed in its fundaments. With full automation, the driver is no longer needed and becomes the passenger. The cargo transportation sector has also discovered this trend. The same companies which changed the industry in the car sector now also want to change the cargo sector. In the article below you can read more about the amazing possibilities this new technology provides.
With digitalization came changes to every aspect of life. It changed how we interact and see technology in our daily life and in business. New technology and tools allowed companies to come up with new services and ideas. The internet of things (IoT) provided opportunities for datamining and new learnings. IoT describes devices that constantly send information about themselves or their surrounding to the producer. They then can turn this information to provide improved products or services for their customers. One of the industries profiting substantially from this trend is the automobile industry. Especially the cargo branch of the automobile industry that was under immense pressure to cope with the consequences of increasing freight volumes. Drivers were already under immense amount of pressure to meet tight deadlines. Self-driving trucks might be one solution for that problem.
For a long time, self-driving cars were a thing of science fiction and only found application in low-quantity productions. But at the latest after Tesla introduced their Model S to come with Tesla Auto Pilot it was clear that autonomous driving has arrived. Though not perfect in the beginning, the technology began to improve steadily. Companies used machine learning to feed large amount of information to the algorithm and make it smarter and more reliable. Research has shown that self-driving cars are now safer than human-driven cars and have lower fatality rates in car accidents (Sagar, 2019). With freight volumes expected to increase and day-to-day delivery on the march, self-driving trucks can be a solution. First kits to turn your truck into an autonomous driving truck can be bought for $US 30.000 to $US 100.000 (Chottani et al., 2018). Even with technology advancing daily it is unrealistic to have completely autonomous cars (SAE Level 5) in the next years. Before using complete autonomous trucks, first drivers will become “platoon leaders”. A platoon is a group of trucks led by a human-driven truck followed by autonomous driving trucks. Only after 2027 it is somewhat realistic to have technology advance to much that trucks could drive without a “platoon leader”. A further challenge that need to be looked at are different road conditions and types. While driving on the “Autobahn” or Interstates trucks face relatively easy to manage traffic situation. The situation gets more complex when trucks must enter the cities through smaller roads and n urban traffic and rush-hours. These routes will become the key challenge needed to solve to create complete autonomous trucks. Truck producers like Volvo, Mercedes, and Tesla are looking to solve this challenge by partnering up with innovative technology suppliers. TCO’s are expected to go down by 45% with fully automated trucks (Chottani et al., 2018).
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