ILS is proud to announce that we are one of the first companies to adopt an autonomous future for transport trucks. Keeping in line with our vision for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly company, we have embraced autonomous trucks as the future of logistics.
Starting today, we are working with self-driving truck company TuSimple to power our operations from Mexico to the United States and back.
TuSimple is one of the leading startups in America, offering self-driving trucks for transportation and logistics. Launched in 2015, the startup currently operates in China and the USA. It has recently been working on a “full-stack solution,” incorporating full Level 4 implementation of autonomous vehicles. What this means is that you get a truck that takes over the responsibilities of all aspects of driving from a human trucker in certain conditions.
If you’ve recently traveled on the Tucson-Phoenix highway in Arizona, you might have already seen one of their fully autonomous trucks on the road. Since August of last year, TuSimple has been using autonomous tractor-trailers to transport freight between Tucson and Phoenix for customers in Arizona.
Why Autonomous Vehicles are the Future of Transportation
“Autonomous vehicles” is a phrase that gets used a lot in the media and on the internet. With no explanations offered as to how they are going to benefit consumers in the real world, you might think “autonomous vehicles” is just a buzzword for technology that is overtaking the jobs of humans and leading to unemployment. However, the truth is quite different. Autonomous vehicles offer a host of benefits that make them the transportation option of the future. Allow us to explain.
Fulfilling Demands for Additional Transportation
Transporting cargo through trucks forms a significant portion of the US economy. However, the increasing demand for transportation in recent years is leading to a national trucker shortage. Additionally, the average age of truckers in America is 55 years. With a large majority of the trucker population nearing retirement, the supply and demand gap for truck drivers is only set to widen in the coming years.
Chief Economist of the American Trucking Association (ATA), Bob Costello, predicts that truck driver shortage will reach 175,000 by 2026. To fulfill this demand and avoid crippling the economy, we have to look at different, out-of-the-box solutions.
Autonomous or self-driving vehicles present an excellent alternative to traditional solutions; not only because they don’t require additional truckers that we don’t have, but also due to the additional road safety that they provide.
Increased Road Safety
According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), there have been over 276,000 property damage only crashes, and 75,000 injury crashes involving heavy trucks each year since 2010. Furthermore, there has been an average of 3,513 fatal crashes every year, involving large trucks. Of all of these fatal crashes since 2016, nearly a third involved at least one driver-related factor leading to the accidents.
With an autonomous vehicle taking over the duties of a human driver, we can expect to lessen fatal crashes involving heavy trucks by up to 33%. It seems that autonomous vehicles are the answer to a safer future on the road.
Decreased Transportation Costs
Trucking is an expensive transportation method. The median salary for truckers in America increased by 15% to 18% from 2013 to 2018. Trucking costs an average of $1.69 per mile in 2017, with about 43 percent of that value going to the driver’s salary.
With future costs expected to grow further, the feasibility of using trucks as the primary mode of transporting cargo is going downward. When you add this factor to growing freight volume demands and the shortage of workers, you get a picture of the larger problem; trucking is costly, and it is only going to get much more expensive in the coming years.
Rather than adding the cost of transportation to your goods and decreasing their value compared to the competition, or taking a huge cut out of your profits, you can use automated trucks to power your supply chain. Self-driving trucks cut many of the costs associated with traditional trucking solutions so you can keep selling your items at the value-for-money rate that you want.
Faster, more Reliable Delivery
Unlike human drivers, autonomous vehicles do not have to take naps and rests between long periods of driving. Not having to stop at a motel overnight for sleep means that self-driving trucks can deliver your cargo quicker than traditional solutions.
Additionally, autonomous vehicles can operate in extremely harsh weather conditions. Where a human driver will stop his truck on the side of the road in the case of heavy rainfall or fog that hinders visibility, an autonomous truck will carry on to its destination. With advanced technologies such as LiDAR and complicated perception technology sensors, autonomous vehicles can “see” the road and travel safely, even when human beings cannot. Although the technology is capable of this feat today, laws in some places prohibit autonomous vehicles from operating under such situations. However, we see a brighter future for self-driving technology as it matures and further proves its competency to the masses.
Sustainability and the Environment
Self-driving cars and trucks are more fuel-efficient than their older, non-autonomous counterparts. The cutting edge technologies used in autonomous trucks allow for lesser fuel wastage, leading to reduced carbon emissions and a greener world. Additionally, many autonomous vehicle companies are looking to switch to electricity, rather than gasoline, to power their vehicles and reduce their carbon footprint even further.
With all these factors in mind, it is apparent that the claims of autonomous vehicles disrupting the industry are true. Rather than criticize the technology from the sidelines, ILS has decided to welcome it with open arms and avail all the benefits associated with the technology. As it matures, these benefits are only set to increase over time.
Contact us today to get your goods transported in a self-driving truck!