What does the roll-out of self driving trucks really mean for the trucking and freight industry? Is this going to cost you a fortune and sink your business? Or is this all just the next logical step in the evolution of the industry?
With the technology being so new, the long-term impact is really speculative at this point. However, there are a number of things all experts are pointing to.
Without any guesswork, here is what self driving trucks will likely mean for your business and the whole industry.
Self Driving Trucks Means Improved Safety
One of the key selling points of this transition is to encourage a reduction in driver error.
Fewer driver errors will mean safer roads for everyone. And we don’t have to tell you what a drastically improved safety record can mean for your company’s bottom line. When calculating your ROI, factor in the fact you’re going to see greatly reduced:
- Damaged equipment
- Personal injuries
- Days lost
- Lawsuits and settlements
Lower Environmental Impact
The thinking here is that having fewer vehicles on the road will reduce your emissions. Also be sure to factor in that your vehicles will be traveling at a more fuel efficient speed.
This means lower costs, lower emissions and your company contributing to a better tomorrow.
“In the United States, heavy trucks represent about 5% of the total vehicle population, yet consumes 20% of total transportation fuel,” according to ATBS.com.
“Despite their surprisingly fuel-efficient powertrains, self-driving trucks can reduce fuel bills by 4-7%. Since the average long-haul truck travels an average of 101,000 miles, this translates to thousands of dollars in savings per truck every year.”
Finding New Levels of Efficiency
First of all, you’re now going to have the ability to have trucks running 24/7, without any need for rest periods.
A recent study has actually revealed that this could lower costs for freight by almost half!
“The all-too-familiar time limitations placed on freight trucks will be removed; they will be able to travel 24/7 without requiring driver rest time and – compared with today’s driving – could achieve overall cost reductions in the region of 40% per kilometer.”
Avoiding the Pending Driver Shortage
We also don’t have to tell you how it’s getting harder to recruit, train and keep employees. Shifts to the workforce are leading to a shortage of qualified and willing truck drivers.
According to Forbes.com:
“An aging population, lower wages (in the U.S., truck drivers earn only about half of what train crews do), tighter hours of service rules, and a younger generation less willing to spend long periods of time away from home mean that the U.S. is short as many as 35,000 drivers – and could be short 240,000 by 2023, according to the American Trucking Association.”
Not Ready for Self Driving Trucks Yet?
This may not be on your radar yet. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t benefit from today’s fleet technology.