Impact of Self-Driving Technology on Trucking Industry

Self-Driving Cars are going to have a huge impact on the Trucking Segment and thereby the U.S. Economy in the long run. This is so because the Trucking Industry itself is a notable contributor to the growth of the U.S.Economy – directly via revenue and indirectly via its services.

According to a report in Statista, the Trucking Industry in the United States is worth a hefty $700 Billion. The survey result includes Trailers, Semi-Trailers, Heavy Duty as well as Light Trucks. Now, that is some serious money that we are talking about here. This number is actually greater than the GDP of some of the lowest income countries.

Trucks have always been the major shareholders when it came to Freight Transportation. They are major transportation catalysts in the Oil, Construction, Logistics, Courier, Hospitality, Service and Automobile Industries.

The above-listed industries form the backbone of almost all strong yet balanced economies. The huge dependency of trucks spanning to almost all of these industries is the sole reason as to why Self-Driving Trucks could have a major impact on the U.S. Economy.

It is unarguably one of the most accepted facts that Self-Driving Technology has the potential to inflict major positive outcomes in the transportation industry. Of all these outcomes, the most notable and impactful ones are the reduction of manual interference and accidents.

Based on a report in the USCC,  the American Transportation Research Institute, some of the most critical challenges faced by the Trucking Industry revolves around lack of Experienced Drivers, Hectic Work hours, and Truck Parking.

Below given are the benefits of implementing Self-Driving Technology in the Trucking Industry –

No More Driver Shortage

Currently, Driver Shortage is one of the major concerns faced by the Trucking Industry. The recent times have noted that there is a tendency among the youth to not move into Truck Driving as a profession. This scenario, if continued with the same pace, can lead to massive shortages of human resources for maneuvering these freight carrying giants.

Self-Driving Trucks are a one-stop-solution to this issue since the whole point associated with this technology is avoiding human intervention in driving.  Logistics can then divert most of its human resources to other workstreams which in turn is an effective and efficient method for Resource Deployment.

Almost all of the issues associated with the presence of drivers such as Labour Issues, Retentions and Recruitment Difficulties are completely ruled out.

self-driving trucks

Daimler Level 2 Automated Frieghtliner | Source – Daimler


Safety is yet another parameter associated with Self-Driving Cars. In fact, the entire concept of the need for Self-Driving Cars revolves around Safety. Almost all of the Self-Driving Car Companies have Safety as their foremost priority.

Maneuvering these freight carrying giants are one hell of a task. Each of these trucks weighs thousands of pounds and are characterized by very large dimensions. The speed, size, and weight of the truck are all the more supportive of accidents in undesirable situations caused mostly due to human negligence.

Self-Driving Technology sticks to the traffic rules at all times. They are characterized by the presence of technical suits made of LIDARs, RADARs, Sensors, and Cameras. Strict Traffic Regulation along with the ability to super sense the surroundings make Self-Driving Cars much safer as compared to their human counterparts.

Daimler’s fleet of Level 2 Automated Freightliner Trucks, for example, has additional mechanisms such as Active Brake Assists which ensures a collision-free ride – whether or not the truck is operating in Autonomous Mode.

self-driving trucks

An Ike Self-Driving Truck | Source – Medium

Reduced Operational Costs

The increased safety associated with these driverless trucks reduces the number of accidents, thereby reducing the money spent on repairs and recreations, by a huge margin. This, in turn, reduces operational costs which directly contributes to the revenue of the company.

Yet another operational cost that gets completely waived off are Driver Salaries. In the case of Logistic Companies, Driver Salaries form a major chunk of the Operational Costs. This includes Fixed/Variable Pays, Driver Insurance, Grants, and other overtime allowances.

Possible Truck Sharing between Companies

Self-Driving Cars make possible the concept of ‘Shared Autonomous Fleet’. Under such a concept, Autonomous Vehicles can be shared among individuals, groups or other companies.

For instance, if one Logistics company is currently not transporting any of its goods, they could possibly share their Stagnant Automated Trucks with other companies, through a common platform such as an Application or Software.

Apart from allowing these companies to have an extra set of income from these trucks, adopting the idea of Shared Autonomous Fleets also rules out issues associated with Parking these trucks. If these trucks are running all the time, they do not actually need much of Parking Infrastructure

Self-Driving Trucks are not a new concept anymore. Most of the heavy-duty vehicle manufacturing companies have already started deploying Partial Autonomous Capabilities on to Freight Carrying Trucks. A few examples include Daimler and Ike.