TuSimple, an Arizona-based startup, unveiled the first self-driving semi truck. Dubbed the Tesla of Trucks by Fortune Magazine. The TuSimple truck could help solve the truck driver shortage problem in America. And improve efficiency and safety on the nation’s highways. The driver-less trucks can drive twice as efficiently as human drivers. And don’t need to take breaks or stop for rest at night.
A Truck Doesn’t Need to Sleep
The shortage of drivers is also problematic. Because it limits how much time a truck can drive in a given day. Most state rules dictate that drivers take an eight-hour break between shifts. And then have 10 hours off before going back to work. That means a driver could only spend about 16 hours behind the wheel in a day. And many states have stricter limits. A driver with TuSimple’s automated truck. On the other hand, could theoretically drive for 24 straight hours by switching off with its computer system when necessary. All told, TuSimple says its trucks could expand capacity from as low as 20 percent up to 180 percent . This would allow shipping companies to get their goods where they need to go more quickly and efficiently, which is good news for both businesses and consumers.
Are the Drivers Happy?
Despite driving being one of America’s most popular jobs, there is a shortage of truck drivers on our highways. The American Trucking Association says there will be a shortage of 200,000 by 2024. Many people are choosing not to become truckers for a few reasons. They might not think it’s glamorous enough and don’t have what it takes to be on the road or they just aren’t familiar with trucks and don’t know if they can handle it. So let me introduce you to an automated trucking company called TuSimple which has created an automated truck that they say won’t need a driver at all! It sounds crazy but when you see what their technology looks like maybe we should take notice. So they are technically not trying to replace drivers, but to Cope with the shortage of drivers.
No Interruptions or Distraction
For example, when a truck is manned by one driver, he or she may be tempted to take naps to make time pass quicker on long hauls. Without any distractions, an automated truck could drive 24/7 without interruptions. As a result, drivers may not have to make as many long trips and can focus on more profitable ones instead. Even if they did end up taking breaks, they’d be doing so when their body wants them to—not because they feel like they have no other choice. Plus, since drivers aren’t sleeping at inopportune times (i.e., while driving), TuSimple could avoid incidents and accidents completely—even those that happen when there are multiple people in control of a vehicle at once.
Are There Other Companies Working on Self-Driving Truck Technology?
While TuSimple is developing an automated driving system, there are other companies working on similar systems. Some of these companies include Peloton Technology, Embark Trucks, and Starsky Robotics & Tesla. Amazon recently unveiled a concept for self-driving semi trucks that is similar to what TuSimple has designed and could be rolled out as soon as next year. Google parent company Alphabet is also developing automated truck technology.