It’s hard to say whether the next step in vehicles is the most dramatic mode of transportation we’ve ever made: But there’s no doubt it’s one of the bigger. The entire method of transporting will be different: where before we controlled what occurred, now we are giving over control to computers. This is the future and it’s one where instead of us driving robots on wheels, robots drive us.
An often overlooked area is that we also should consider self-driving trucks, considering their importance to the economy. As Wired notes:
“The large freight carriers have already started the transition, equipping their fleets with active safety features like blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings. The economic case for these technologies, the building blocks for autonomy, is clear. ‘Commercial vehicles are a safety issue,’ says Xavier Mosquet, head of Boston Consulting Group’s North America automotive division. ‘And therefore anything that can get commercial vehicles out of trouble has a lot of value.’ And the carriers wants more of it.”
This has enormous implications for insurers, fleet management, businesses, customers. In other words, everyone.
Getting trucks to transport without worrying about driver fatigue is essential, considering the health problems long-distance driving has. As The Huffington Post notes:
“According to a recent study of over 1,600 drivers published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, long-distance commercial truck drivers are more than twice as likely to have diabetes (14.4 percent vs. 6.8 percent nationally) and are more than twice as likely to smoke (50.7 percent vs. 18.9 percent). More troubling, 68.9 percent of drivers are classified as being obese and 17.4 percent as being morbidly obese, vs. 30.5 percent and 7.3 percent of the nation as a whole. Truck drivers are at increased risk of musculoskeletal problems, like back pain, as well as psychiatric illness. And, in terms of access to health care, more needs to be done — 18.3 percent have delayed or did not receive care and 80.2 percent did not receive a flu shot.”
Thus anything that can be done to help reduce these travel times could be essential to everyone – after all, fatigue from one driver doesn’t just affect the driver, but the good he’s transporting, the businesses dependent on that transport, other drivers, and pedestrians. If technology can help combat this, everyone needs to be supportive – if, of course, scrutinising, of it.
Driverless tech isn’t just fancy; it could prove vital and life-saving.