Autonomous Auto Transport Trucks Won’t be Driverless
It seems that the future of the car transport industry is in the hands of autonomous auto transport trucks. And while none have been rolled out yet, the very first driverless freight truck has completed its journey. We’re definitely living in exciting times, people!
But while many have speculated that automated trucks will replace drivers, this likely won’t be the case.
Why autonomous auto transport trucks won’t be driverless
There are a lot of reasons as to why autonomous auto transport trucks will still have a driver along for the ride. Probably the most common sense reason is to make sure there’s a human in case the on board computer fails. With freight logistics, having someone be able to take over in case of emergency is paramount, especially when it comes to shipping cars.
Auto transport trucks often have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of freight on them. Should the computer fail and cause an accident, that could end up forcing the trucking company’s insurance to cover every car on the truck. That’s a catastrophe for any car transporter.
But there’s also the fact that someone has to be there to load and unload the vehicles. While that may eventually be done by a computer too, for now there are no plans for autonomous methods of loading or unloading cars.
Paperwork is another reason why a driver will still be required to ride along in autonomous auto transport trucks. As it stands now, drivers and customers have to do pickup and delivery inspections. This requires humans to actively inspect the car, and two signatures are required to maintain accuracy.
Then there’s the Bill of Lading, which acts as an all-in-one packet for the paperwork. The Bill of Lading is a receipt and information sheet and inspection report all rolled into one. It requires two signatures to be valid as well, one from you and one from your driver. Autonomous auto transport trucks can’t sign off on those yet.
But make no mistake – autonomous auto transport trucks are the future
There’s no doubt that autonomous auto transport is going to be the future of the industry. Really, autonomous vehicles in general are making waves, and it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing them commercially available. This includes transportation trucks.
A number of industries are jumping on the bandwagon, and with Donald Trump set to take the White House, we could see less regulation of the auto transportation industry.
This can be both good and bad. Deregulation tends to open up industries, but it can also have drawbacks, notably in terms of corporate takeovers and mergers.
Right now, the car shipping industry is decidedly diverse. It is hard to maintain a nationwide fleet that can service all the customers, and most drivers on the road are owner-operators, not part of major fleet networks. So monopolies on auto transportation services likely won’t be a thing.
However, regulating self-driving cars and trucks is the real debate right now. Some want to see strict regulations so that cars are safe while sharing the road with human drivers. This goes double for freight haulers. But others want to see lax restrictions to keep the markets open to innovation instead of shoehorning in a bunch of regulations.
We don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but we know that autonomous auto transport trucks are going to be a thing, and they’ll still have drivers to handle all the gruntwork.
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