Self Driving Trucks: Are They The Future of Shipping?

There is a sort of arms race happening between all of the major shipping companies of the world. Each wants to figure out a way to ship goods more rapidly and in the most efficient way possible. This is why self driving truck fleets have been getting some momentum. Although the technology isn’t quite ready yet, many believe it’s simply a matter of time before it does.

Even car manufacturers like Tesla have been rolling out self-driving cars for the general population. This means it is likely that self driving shipping trucks are likely to become a thing. In this article, we will explore what this all means for the shipping industry.

What is the timeline?

As of right now, there is no set timeline when the first fleet of self-driving trucks hit the road. However, according to, there is a lot of development happening and a prototype should be expected in the not too distant future.

There are quite a few issues that have been happening with the initial prototypes that have been tested so far. The main issue right now is the unreliability of the sensors that the system needs to be able to safely guide the trucks.

What is working so far is the GPS system that is used to help the trucks navigate and get from Point A to Point B. this is a sort of beam that the truck sensors are able to use to help them drive on the correct route and actually make it to their destination.

Where the problem lies primarily is with how the sensors work to understand what is happening around them. Right now, the trucks can’t judge well enough how much leeway they have between them and the cars to their ideas as well as where the side of the road is. This is making accidents too likely to happen to reliably roll out a truck on the public roads. It is a similar problem that is happening with self driving cars that are causing accidents recently.

What happens to the truck drivers?

There is still going to be a need for a truck driver even in a scenario in which they are self driving. It will work much like when an airplane pilot gets the plane off of the ground and then the autopilot takes over. There still needs to be somebody in the cockpit.

The same thing will happen with a truck where the driver needs to be there to monitor the controls and react when necessary. What is the point of them being self driven then?

In a self driving system, there can be convoys of trucks that move at a consistent speed and within a few feet of each other without causing an accident. It is a far more efficient way to ship goods even though they will still be paying for drivers to man the vehicle. There will be less highway traffic and far fewer accidents if things pan out the way they are expected to.

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