Numerous technologies have evolved in recent times that look to radically alter the working of the logistics and supply chain industry. Autonomous trucks are commercial vehicles that leverage AI to automate operations ranging from shipping yards to long-haul deliveries. These intelligent vehicles may be the first autonomous vehicles to drive on public roads at scale due to industry pressures from increasing delivery demands and driver shortages, as well as straightforward operational domains such as highways. To enhance safety and efficiency, this technology employs long-range, high-resolution sensors, a variety of deep neural networks, and high-performance, energy-efficient computing. With the rise of e-commerce and next-day delivery, trucking plays an increasingly vital role in moving the world forward.
From 3D printers, workplace automation, and AI to big data all look like a promising tool to substantially increase efficiency and save costs. Autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars are amongst the latest technological innovation that seems set to impact the field of logistics widely. Sophisticated computer navigation, GPS technology, camera technology, and sensor technology together has made it possible for vehicles to be driven without human intervention. Apart from the automobile companies, technology giants like Google and Apple have also invested heavily in this technology.
Impact of autonomous vehicles on logistics
So how exactly will autonomous vehicles impact the logistics industry:
Although earlier in the year Google’s autonomous car crashed in Mountain View, people began to jump to the conclusion that using such technology in the logistics industry is unsafe. But people fail to address the success rate where it had already driven more than 1.4 million miles without a single incident. For comparison, the accident rate for cars driven by humans stands almost at two crashes per million miles. By eliminating driver related errors, autonomous cars significantly improve vehicle safety and ensure that the goods reach the destination safely.
Self-driving cars are highly efficient and can make a split-second decision which humans cant possibly perform. With a little assistance from AI technology, an autonomous vehicle can crunch mountains of data to come to a decision, that too in a matter of a fraction of seconds. The autonomous vehicle can efficiently identify best travel routes to minimise time on-road, avoid traffic jams by following lanes rules, and drive at optimum speed and employ platooning to maximize fuel economy. Considering the savings in fuel and quicker delivery times, autonomous vehicles can vastly improve the performance of logistics companies.
It is already evident that with advanced decision-making capabilities autonomous vehicles can save fuel and time costs. Additionally, improved safety will also avoid damage costs as well as insurance costs. As a result, insurance companies would be willing to accept a low premium amount for autonomous cars in the future due to their low error rate. Also, logistics companies will also save on personnel costs which is currently a significant part of the transportation costs.
Benefits of autonomous trucks on Logistics.
Autonomous trucks can operate 24/7, which is a significant advantage over human drivers who require rest breaks and have limited working hours. This continuous operation can lead to faster delivery times and increased throughput for logistics companies. It also allows for more precise scheduling and coordination of shipments, reducing idle time at warehouses or distribution centers.
Autonomous trucks are equipped with a variety of sensors, including lidar, radar, cameras, and advanced artificial intelligence algorithms. These technologies enable real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s surroundings and can quickly react to unexpected situations, such as sudden braking or swerving vehicles. As a result, the risk of accidents due to human factors, like fatigue, distraction, or impaired driving, is significantly reduced. This not only enhances road safety but also lowers the costs associated with accidents, such as vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and insurance premiums.
Autonomous trucks can potentially lead to substantial cost savings in the logistics industry. While the initial investment in autonomous technology can be significant, it can pay off in the long run. First, labor costs are reduced as there’s no need for a human driver, which can make up a significant portion of the operational expenses. Second, autonomous trucks can optimize fuel efficiency by maintaining consistent speeds, avoiding unnecessary idling, and choosing the most fuel-efficient routes. This can lead to considerable savings in fuel costs. Additionally, the precise route planning and driving techniques enabled by autonomous systems help extend the lifespan of the vehicles, reducing maintenance and repair expenses.
For more information on how autonomous driving technology and autonomous vehicles will impact the logistics industry: