Nevada recently welcomed the Freightliner Inspiration Trucks, which are the first trucks operated primarily by a machine. The first 18-wheeler autonomous truck was presented at a public conference and ready to hit the road. In fact, the autonomous truck already tested 10,000 miles.
There are many benefits to having an autonomous truck on the road. These benefits will improve freight shipping for everyone. The machines that are driving these trucks never get tired, fatigued and there are no distractions. These are all problems with traditional truck drivers. About 90% of all truck accidents involved driver error. The machines will always follow speed limits, adjusts to weather and traffic. Because the machine moves smoothly and smartly, this might result in less traffic and lower emissions. And autonomous trucks require special tags and license plates.
Another possible benefit for an autonomous truck is to help with the driver shortage. While the machine does the majority of the driving, there will still be a driver as an emergency backup. Plus, the driver will handle scheduling and logging. In the future, this position could eventually become obsolete.
Currently, there is a lack of federal oversight for the autonomous truck, and thus we are years away before they are all over the roads. When they get on the roads, freight trucking rates and the cargo shipping world will change. Speak to your freight forwarder about this issue and the impact on your freight.