Are Autonomous Vehicles the Future of Car Hauling?

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self-driving-truck

It seemed not too long ago that the idea of self-driving cars was a futuristic prospect, seen only in science fiction films and books. But that time has passed, with autonomous vehicles very much a real thing.

Self-driving cars have existed in the mainstream since 2014, when Tesla first introduced Autosteer, Autopark, and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) features in their vehicles. And while self-driving vehicles have technically existed for much longer than that, current advancements in AI technology have made self-driving cars significantly more effective, practical, and safe.

Self-driving vehicle technology has already begun being utilized by many big-name companies like Uber, with companies using the advanced tech to their advantage. But the technology may in fact become the future of other industries including car hauling, for better or for worse. Today, we’ll be taking a look into the distant future, and discuss what the trucking industry as a whole may eventually look like.

Self-Driving Trucks

Just as autonomous vehicles have been in active development for many years, autonomous trucks have been worked on and perfected for just about as long. The list of companies competing to build the best automated truck technology is long, with Tesla unveiling their own autonomous truck just last year. Entitled Semi, it relies entirely on battery power and is expected to have a range between 300 to 500 miles on a single charge. Various other companies have announced similar projects, with Aurora even going as far as to create its own operating system for autonomous trucks

With this said, however, it is expected that we are still a ways away from drivers being completely absent from the driver’s seat of 18-wheelers. While the U.S. Department of Transportation is investing millions of dollars into the research and development of autonomous trucking technology, experts will still take the necessary time in order to perfect the tech properly. In an interview with Fortune, University of Pennsylvania sociologist Steve Viscelli explained that the “decades-long investment by the U.S. government” is allowing experts to take their necessary time to perfect the technology, as “this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Negative Impacts on Workforce

Of course, there are also some potential downsides to this emerging technology. With the invention of autonomous trucks, we may see a large gap in the workforce as a result. There are currently 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States alone, so the introduction of trucks that drive themselves would certainly put more than just a handful of workers out of a job. As it currently stands, there are already some major problems in the trucking industry with drivers being severely underpaid and not receiving the benefits that they deserve, so the addition of autonomous driving alternatives could potentially make things even worse as a result.

But all of this is only speculation, and there’s no saying what will happen in the future. It will take some time for the technology to be perfected to the point of trucks being capable of driving completely autonomously, so things are still hard to predict at this time.

Future of Auto Transport Industry

The future of the auto transport industry is understandably uncertain, with newly emerging technologies paving the way for self-driving trucks and other quality of life improvements to car hauling. Outside of self-driving tech, other electronic tools like TMS (transportation management system) solutions and load boards have recently allowed for car hauling to become easier than ever before. 

Speaking of which, Super Dispatch is an excellent option for those looking for a great TMS solution, as it allows drivers to sign and file paperwork, send BOLs, manage payments, and communicate with pickup and drop-off points all through their mobile phones. If this sounds like something that could be valuable for your car hauling business, then consider trying a free trial today.

Published on May 27, 2022

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