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The concept of autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles has developed over the recent years from a futuristic inclination (or passing trend) to a focal point within the trucking industry. This technology allows for a vehicle (e.g. haul truck, tractor and trailer combination, or other utilitarian piece of machinery) to be operated minus the physical presence of human being manning the helm.
A case can be made for both the ever-present positive benefits and the looming negative repercussions of said industrial breakthrough. This is made depending on which side of the industrial fence an organization may choose to position themselves.
Although, it seems that our society is moving into the direction of automation as the working standard. This approach is beginning to spill over into the trucking industry with various tidbits of technology already integrated into operations. The government, namely the United States Post Office, has already initiated a program that is within the early testing stages of sending autonomous trucks across state lines (Post Office to test autonomous semi-trucks for hauling mail across state lines).
Along with change comes adversity. The negative backlash that could occur may attach itself to this presiding issues of vehicle autonomy. This might hinder the advancement and acceptance amongst the freight hauling culture.
Questions could arise to the tone of, "Will this new technology leave a diminishing effect on the professionalism of the driver position?" or "How many actual human driving jobs will remain?" These inquisitions are validated when the process and its components are analyzed. The Union of Concerned Scientists offers the basic framework of this new technology:
• Simple plots or points are designated into the preferred vehicle software
• Sensors, lasers, and radar systems organize and compile the best available route
• Algorithms and technological commands aid the autonomous vehicle in the identification of traffic laws and obstructions
Each area still may raise concern for business-to-business transports as well as transportation owner-operator entities. The need for upheaval remains a point of discussion; meaning that automation will take some solid massaging before the notion is given a chance to saturate the freightage, logistical or hauling markets.
The world of trucking is regulated in such a manner that any new offering from the technological world would have to travel alongside a pragmatic logic for the change. Autonomy may be affordable, timely, and responsive, but it cannot replace human intuition.
Whilst the technology of self-driving trucks works through the obstructions and restrictions there is still a need for knowledgeable drivers and effective equipment. J Ruble and Sons maintains the deepest stable of inventory allowing for any truck to endure the advancement of technology.
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