Self-driving vehicles are one of the most significant technological innovations on our horizon that will have significant, positive effects for global society as a whole. Self-driving commercial trucks are not the first thing people think about when they thing of self-driving vehicles. Many people envision an ultra modern passenger vehicle cruising silently down the highway. But, the automation and self-driving capabilities of commercial trucks are much more important. Self-driving commercial trucks will not only make roads safer, but they will also make the industry more efficient as a whole.
Automated, self-driving commercial trucks present a solution to a serious safety problem within the world. Commercial truck driver’s transport 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S alone, accounting for $671 billion worth of manufactured retail goods (TruckingInfo). From a safety standpoint this presents an issue. There are a significant amount of large commercial trucks on the road, with drivers easily distracted or tired after long drive. By creating increasingly effective automation and self-driving systems, companies such as “Otto” are disrupting and making safer an industry in need.
According to TruckingInfo.com, 41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths occur every year within the U.S. More than 80% of those accidents are the fault of the non-commercial driver (TruckingInfo). By utilizing and perfecting self-driving technology in commercial trucks, the industry can become safer as a whole, eliminating the need for fatigued drivers to keep going to make a deadline. Companies, such as “Otto” are working towards the goal of making the industry and roads a safer place for both truck drivers as well as other drivers on the world’s roads.
From an efficiency standpoint, self-driving and automated trucks are making companies leaner and operations more efficient. Fuel typically represents 1/3 of the cost of operating a long-haul commercial truck. Eric Berdinis, Otto’s product manager, “while drivers are capable of wringing maximum miles per gallon from their trucks, many are too heavy-footed on the pedals.” To combat this issue, the self-driving equipment is programmed to maintain speed and maintain efficient acceleration.
Freedman, David H. “If Automation Is Already Messing with Our Economy and Our Politics, Just Wait until Self-driving Trucks Arrive.” MIT Technology Review. MIT Technology Review, 06 Apr. 2017. Web. 19 July 2017.
“Truck Stats.” Trucking Statistics – Truckinfo.net. Web. 19 July 2017.