Look, No Hands! Self-Driving Trucks

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The trucking business in Canada is currently experiencing a shortage of drivers. More drivers have retired and/or quit working to find other employment. However, as almost anything in today’s world, technology provides a solution. Canadian trucking companies meet self-driving trucks!

Well, how does it work?

Self-driving cars, also called as “driveless” or autonomous cars, combine various technology to command, pilot, and operate trucks. These cars do these by designing a chart of their environment using radars and sensors. Software then converts this information into instructions for vehicle navigation. The software is also loaded with driving regulations for the truck to follow traffic rules.

Aside from that, some self-driving trucks are equipped with platooning technology. This involves a group of trucks installed with similar software that allows them to travel together and communicate with each other. Truck communication relies on Bluetooth.

Key Players

Many companies have tried to develop their own “driveless” truck with major players like Daimler, Waymo, Tesla, Embark, and TuSimple. Despite Uber’s success with their self-driving truck in 2016, they have decided to shut down operations to focus on self-driving cars. However, companies like those listed above, have taken it upon themselves to take this challenge.

Autonomous cars are a closer reality than one may think.

What does this mean?

Self-driving cars are already being produced; however, we have yet to see one in full function. Since these cars are still not in production, researchers have yet to fully see its benefits and disadvantages. However, most certainly, having these trucks would revolutionize the Canadian trucking industry. With these trucks, the future looks bright for Canadian trucking companies.

Paul Godsmark of Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence predicts that autonomous cars can help reduce labor costs by 40%. With self-driving trucks, trucking companies can operate far longer and more efficient as it can reduce fuel costs. Other advocates for autonomous trucks cite that this will also improve road safety. The Ontario Provincial Police report that 65% of car accidents are due to the driver’s fault.

However, others have different opinions regarding this new technology.

The two biggest concerns of self-driving trucks are their impact on truck drivers and on road safety. As for safety, many are apprehensive. While it may be self-driving, trucks are still bigger than cars and thus, may find it more difficult to react in the same way an autonomous car would. However, companies are doing their best to develop trucks that are safe. As for truck drivers, many believe that truck drivers would be needed more than ever. Trucking companies have all stated that in the advent of autonomous trucks, drivers would be the needed to oversee and monitor the truck. While it may be self-driving, these companies would still rather stay on the safe side.

Self-driving cars seemed like something in the distant future. However, with the current state of technology and passion and ingenuity of inventors, anything becomes possible. Regardless of its effects, this would surely change the way Canadian trucking companies work.

RichardADavis