The day is not far away when trucks would drive themselves out of the warehouses and run on roads without a driver on the helm. However, what remains to be seen is how earlier this really happens. As many people, as many opinions, but several technologists are fully confident, even more than the manufacturers, that it is going to happen real soon than expected. The OEMs as well as various investors have put a whoopy $1billion into self-driving and other trucking technologies, 10 times the level of three years ago, according to CB Insights, which tracks the venture capital industry.
American electric carmaker Tesla would reveal its semi-electric truck a couple of days later which would come with self-driving features. “We are trying to get self-driving technology out on the road as fast as possible,” said Alex Rodrigues, Embark’s chief executive. “Trucking needs self-driving and self-driving needs trucking.” Also, Embark, a startup in Silicon Valley, has said that it has been testing its self-driving technology as part of a three-way partnership with the truck-leasing company Ryder and the appliance giant Electrolux. Trucks spend majority of their time on desolate highways unlike the autonomous cars which ply most of the times on chaotic urban streets.
While the advent of the self-driving car will rest on the decisions of individual consumers, logistics companies are unemotional operators that will upgrade their fleets the moment it makes financial sense. Trucking is a $700-billion industry that touches every corner of the economy. Trucks haul natural resources from mines and forests. They transport industrial building blocks from manufacturers and deliver goods to stores and homes. Virtually every physical product from food to paper towels and furniture has touched a truck several times by the time it gets to a consumer’s hands.