Artificial intelligence has recently gained traction in the transport industry, with freight companies joining the bandwagon to adopt autonomous trucking. In addition to industrial changes, city planning departments are adjusting their infrastructure, with the plans to prepare for a future for autonomous driving. Despite these advancements, there are challenges and obstacles the trucking industry needs to overcome in terms of design where collaboration could be a progressive way to make that happen.
For the most part, relevant stakeholders who understand the future, will undoubtedly include autonomous trucking. But how do we change the current transport system to serve the tech in the coming years? In the recent partnership between automotive giants Waymo and TuSimple, the two firms agreed that highway and street-level driving are critical issues that should be solved for efficient application of self-driving systems. Reconstructing the world to adopt autonomous trucking will present complex challenges relating to the design of highways, altering social constructs related to driving, and the adaptation of technology to human interactions.
Of course, there is the challenge of autonomy levels that should be fitted into fleets, to ensure safety, and to allow semi-trucks to perform at a higher level. While AI analyzes and learns from huge amounts of data, the level of safety requirements for trucks increases exponentially based on the capacity and volume the firms are working with. The larger autonomous vehicles require more mechanisms, including sensors, cameras, and lidar that are essential in monitoring and controlling the systems. To add, each component will have to be connected to another for communication. These finite details may become increasingly complex for manufacturers and the transport industry to guarantee a safe trip by developing high standard technologies that guarantee seamless and safe operations.
The recent partnership between Waymo and Daimler Trucks provides a strong illustration that collaborations can be formed within the automotive industry. The two giants have developed an autonomous alternative to the Freightliner Cascadia truck that will include the best of both worlds. Specifically, the collaboration will allow the adoption of the upgraded Level 4 autonomous technology that allows the truck to self-navigate in designated areas. In addition, Daimler’s industry-leading engineering prowess will support technological advancements. Similar collaborations would enhance specific elements of the autonomous trucks including safety and computing ability to counter any related challenges.
Legal guidelines will be essential to support the operation of autonomous trucks. In this case, technology and transport firms may collaborate with transportation departments to formulate vehicle safety inspection policies. For instance, there have been proposals to include a human operator on highly automated trucks to monitor advanced systems and intervene when required. Further, the collaboration will highlight how transport companies can adopt connectivity to increase communication with other autonomous vehicles on highways and surrounding infrastructure, including traffic lights. The collaboration will provide a higher level of consistency in the autonomous truck sector while providing research opportunities.