According to one source, autonomous-driving cars will be hitting the marketplace by 2020, much sooner than some people were expecting. This could lead to a complete revolution in the way that we commute to and from work, particularly in larger cities such as Chicago, New York and Portland, where tightly-packed buildings and narrow surface streets can make driving through downtown areas a major pain in the rear. Systems such as lane assist, backup cameras, and safety sensors have already made their way into vehicles, and newer technologies such as highway traffic management systems – essentially a system that allows a vehicle to maneuver itself during traffic jams – are already in testing phase. Google is planning on releasing their own automated car as well, putting pressure on Nissan – who is already the self-proclaimed leader of autonomous driving technology – as well as other manufacturers to put out technology even faster.
This technology could be revolutionary – some experts are betting on it so much that projected figures as high as 95 million autonomous vehicles on the road by 2035, with numbers increasing each year. Of course, this kind of technology is hardly cheap, though as the technology gains more popularity and more autonomous units hit the road the prices will likely drop. Semi-autonomous technologies already exist, as mentioned, but as we move forward with this technology, what impact will it have on the auto transport industry? Autonomous vehicles will likely be much the same size as regular vehicles, considering that people still have to fit inside them, but in terms of how the vehicles are transported..what will that do for the industry?
Autonomous-driving auto transport trucks seem like a long way off. There’s a lot of concern regarding the technology even in standard automobiles, and Google’s planned vehicle won’t even have a steering wheel or braking systems, at least not to start. Would auto transport trucks evolve the same way?
Not likely, given the way that the industry is setup now. Auto transportation is one of those industries where people need to be in control, and while auto transport companies could stand to make a lot of money by moving their fleets to autonomous units, there are still so many independent auto transport companies out there that rely on standard trucking procedures. Auto transport fleets – the ones that would most benefit from autonomous technology – are few and far between, and the gaps they leave are made up by independent shippers and owner-operators. With the technology still in its infancy, we can expect the automobile transportation industry, and really any long-haul logistics industry, to see a sizable time gap between introduction of this new technology and implementation at their particular level.
Some of the technological advances in autonomous vehicles, such as parking assist, lane control assist, and many others, but – again – implementation in the auto transport industry is slow. So slow, in fact, that most, if not all, trucks on the road don’t even have this technology available to them yet. It makes sense; putting such a system on something like a car, which is small and compact, is much easier than something as large, heavy and as long as a car transport carrier. Does this mean that this technology will never make its way into long-haul industries? Doubtful. Safety is a major concern in the automobile transport world, and with little in the way in regulation – not to mention some companies flaunting the laws already in place – it seems to only be a matter of time before some part of the autonomous vehicle industry makes its way into the vehicle transport world. But just how much makes its way in, and when, remains to be seen.