Will autonomous or partially autonomous freight trucks make long-haul road transportation safer, cheaper, more efficient and better for the planet?
Daimler Trucks, the creators of the Freightliner Inspiration 18-wheeler, seems to think so.
On the highway, the Freightliner Inspiration takes control, maintaining a safe distance from vehicles in front and staying in its lane. If the truck requires more complicated manoeuvring, audible signals and dashboard icons alert the driver that it’s time for him to take over the wheel. Basically, the Freightliner Inspiration eliminates the need for human drivers, at least for highway driving.
Trucks are vital to our economy, but there’s always the question of safety. According to an AAA report released in 2017, large trucks with a gross vehicle rating of more than 10,000 pounds were involved in 400,000 crashes, resulting in over 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries in 2015. This is a 4 percent increase from 2014.
In this era of truck safety, the focus has shifted from protecting occupants when a crash happens to prevent crashes from ever occurring. Active safety features, like lane control and automatic braking, are one way to lower the risk of crashes. Autonomous (driverless or self-operating) trucks may be another.
In addition to the safety argument, autonomous trucks may help solve another crisis: the lack of qualified drivers. According to an October 2014 report by the American Transportation Research Institute, The American Trucking Association predicts a shortage of 240,000 drivers by 2022. There are more than 3.5 million truck drivers on U.S. highways. And the need for trucking is only going to keep growing, as the popularity of online shopping continues to increase.
A truck that controls itself could be the answer to improving safety and efficiency on the road while solving the inevitable driver shortage.
FreeFreightSearch.com (FFS) is the first and only load board that is fully integrated with a freight bill factoring company, meaning that registered members may find freight, obtain a fuel advance, and obtain 100% funding within hours of delivery — without ever leaving the site. Register on our free load board today.