Home Strategy Self-driving trucks – coming soon to a highway near you

Self-driving trucks – coming soon to a highway near you

Self-driving trucks have been on the radar for a long time, but the technology is rapidly advancing. Australian fleets are expected to be early adopters due to the size of the country.

New research  from Teletrac Navman reveals that nearly half of Australian fleets believe autonomous trucks will have an undeniable presence in the transport industry in the next 10 years. These will be most prevalent for the long haul, inter/intrastate routes to start with.

Forty percent of respondents (fleet managers and transport operators) perceived cost reduction to be the top benefit of autonomous vehicle use. This was followed by safety (39%) and efficiency (29%). While all benefits won’t be realised until the technology comes fully into play, 58% see autonomous vehicle technology benefitting their business. Fleets running interstate routes also identified the potential to see the biggest reduction in costs benefits offered by autonomous trucks.

Andrew Rossington, vice-president, Transtech, – a division of Teletrac Navman, said, “Autonomous vehicle technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with expected timeframes for adoption in Australia continuing to shift. As the technology becomes more commonplace, it will significantly impact costs, safety, and operational efficiency across the road freight transport sector.”

ACA Research conducted this research to explore the perceptions of self-driving trucks, expected timeframes for adoption and the likely benefits for transport operators.

“While self-driving trucks have been on the radar for a long time, transport operators will need to understand how it could impact their business. Driver safety and operational efficiency remain key concerns for all businesses. Autonomous vehicles may be a few years away, yet we will continue to see the implementation and incremental use of the technology, which will significantly help tackle these challenges,” said Rossington.

Early adopters are likely to include mining haulage, garbage and refuse pickup (set routes), public transport, fuel and food delivery. In May 2015, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration Truck became the world's first autonomous truck to be granted a licence for road use in Nevada.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!