Self Driving Trucks: Are they going to revolutionize the trucking Industry
A self-driving truck can’t just have autonomous vehicle technology added to it.
Sure, self-driving trucks will face the same hazards as vehicle drivers. However, unlike autonomous sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, or SUVs, big rigs have to deal with more challenging factors including weight, size, cross winds, air brakes, and trailer hitches when making turns.
The weight and size of tractor-trailers make them the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. In addition, the air brakes they utilize perform differently from hydraulic brakes. Therefore, AI systems will need specialized training, just like human drivers do, before they can operate such large vehicles safely and effectively.
Since 18-wheelers spend most of their time on the highway, which is far easier to automate than city driving, building a virtual driver for them is surprisingly straightforward. Therefore, it is possible that driverless trucks may become commonplace before most city people experience a ride in an autonomous automobile.
Reasons why autonomous trucks will hit the market first compared to cars
Before they become commonplace, virtual drivers will need to have superior driving skills than those of their human counterparts.
Getting these autonomous systems ready for urban roadways will be their toughest obstacle. These circumstances are rife with unforeseen events; an inattentive driver may abruptly cross the street, for example, or anything could unexpectedly run a red light.
These things don’t happen very often on the roads. On the highway, automobiles typically keep their lanes, keep safe distances, and remain reliable for hours.
Highway accidents are less common since they are isolated from public areas, despite the fact that they can be more disastrous owing to the high speed involved. Unexpected incidents are therefore less likely. In order to create safe autonomous vehicles on roads, virtual drivers will thus need to practice for fewer scenarios.
In fact, in five years we may see autonomous vehicles that are road-ready. Cars and trucks should both receive them at around the same time, however they will need to be calibrated for each vehicle type.
However, since the majority of the expense of running trucks is incurred by human drivers, shipping corporations have financial incentives to implement the technology swiftly. Because they can run around-the-clock and will eliminate the need for numerous drivers, anticipate that self-driving trucks will enter the mainstream more quickly.
The Transportation Logistics of Driverless Trucks
The development of fully autonomous trucks for highway use will lag significantly behind the development of similar vehicles for use in urban areas by many years. In order for trucks to get throughout town and the countryside, drivers will be required. That means there will still be some need for truck drivers.
But I don’t understand how it will function. The hub-and-spoke configuration is the name for this type of design. Trucks will be able to park in vast lots built close to motorways on the fringes of cities.
At first, the tractor-trailers would make their journey from hub to hub without any human intervention.
As soon as a truck reaches a hub, a human driver will take over and convey it to its local destination. Once they’ve returned it to the central location, they’ll begin transporting the newly delivered cargo. The lead trailer will then travel to the next hub without any human input.
What this means is that the surviving truck drivers may have a better quality of life if self-driving trucks enter the market, since they will be able to spend more time with their families and complete fewer trips each day.
How Human Drivers Must Navigate Around Self-Driving Trucks
Simply put, always drive safely. Because a tractor-trailer without a driver doesn’t mean you should alter your driving habits.
It goes without saying that you should avoid harassing autonomous vehicles.
As shocking as it may sound, there have been reports of people trying to trick these devices upon first encounter. Since virtual drivers, unlike real ones, cannot fight back if they are bullied, some may feel it is OK to resort to such behavior.
It’s not safe to drive like that. Aggressive driving is never a good choice, even when autonomous driving systems can respond safely to it. On the road, it’s essential to be courteous to other users.
Moreover, sensors and AI are abundant in such systems. A human bully’s actions can be captured on tape and forwarded to authorities.
Main Challenges to Driverless trucks
The most significant challenge to rolling out autonomous trucks is the need to test their reliability in every imaginable scenario. Cars will always have occupants since their primary function is to transport people. So, if something goes wrong, someone will be there to take over.
This will also be true for vehicles during development – a person will be present to guarantee everything is safe. The primary purpose, however, will be to transfer freight. So, as soon as autonomous systems are shown to be safe, human drivers will be obsolete.
Engineers will need to test the virtual drivers via millions of simulations to validate this degree of safety. Each simulation will put the autonomous systems through numerous scenarios and driving situations to ensure their safety.
Keep on checking this space for more such knowledgeable articles and new inventions related to trucking and shipping.