Driverless trucks have already been tested on U.S. streets and highways. While these technologies are not yet ready for large-scale implementation, many fleet management experts believe that self-driving big rigs represent the future of commercial transportation. Here are some key facts your company should know about the future of these emerging technologies.
Most Scenarios Still Require Drivers
Self-driving trucks are unlikely to eliminate the need for long-haul truckers in the near future. These vehicles will still require human oversight and intervention to ensure public safety and to monitor systems within the truck for any sign of malfunction. Convoys of automated trucks could be programmed to follow the lead of a human driver in the first truck, which could also allow for greater flexibility in managing short-term alterations to routes because of accidents or construction in the road.
Many Necessary Technologies Are Already in Use
Automatic braking, proximity sensors and other key pieces of self-driving technology are already in use in passenger cars. The same principles that allow automatic parallel parking can be applied to big rigs, allowing them to stay in their lanes and to avoid collisions with other vehicles. Blind-spot detection systems are also of critical importance not only for self-driving vehicles but for big rigs in general.
Competing Systems for Semi-Autonomous and Self-Driving Trucks
Right now, three basic systems are in development for self-driving vehicles:
- Radar-over-camera systems use radar sensors with supplementary data from on-board cameras to detect vehicles and avoid collisions.
- Camera-over-radar systems prioritize data from cameras over supplementary radar data to achieve the same results.
- Hybrid systems incorporate camera data, radar arrays and light detection. In some cases, these systems may also take on information provided by other vehicles and highway sensor arrays to ensure greater safety and more accurate computer assessment of conditions on the road.
Safe operation of self-driving tractor-trailer vehicles and other large trucks will likely require a hybrid approach that incorporates camera, radar and other sensors to provide the most comprehensive information to driving systems and to on-board human operators. The cost of these features may be offset by lower insurance rates and fewer collisions, allowing transportation companies to realize greater profitability in the competitive marketplace.
The commercial fleet leasing experts at Glesby Marks offer nationwide support for transportation companies looking for the best and most cost-effective solutions for their management needs. We offer start-to-finish support for your company starting with fleet leasing solutions that incorporate the features you need at a price you can afford. Our team of fleet management professionals can provide you with technological support that can help you make the most effective use of your available human and vehicle resources. Glesby Marks also offers maintenance plans tailored to your needs. When you need to trade up to newer models, we can help you with remarketing and acquiring the vehicles you need. Call us today at 1-800-482-9498. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service staff members will be happy to help you.