Autonomous driving could end up taking thousands of trucking jobs, Bloomberg writes.
Driving engineers have been focused on things like long-haul freight, interstate runs without much complexity and other more dangerous jobs.
These kinds of routes have reportedly been some of the simpler challenges for self-driving.
According to the report, the biggest hurdle could be infrastructure; the short trip from a factory or distribution center to a highway is more complex than the next hundreds of miles. This is also true of the process of exiting the highway.
One of the solutions could be for the trucking companies to set up transfer stations at either end of the highway to allow human drivers to handle the harder first parts of the trip. By having another station at the exit, they could flip the freight back to an analog truck for delivery.
But there are still some issues. The autonomous systems need to improve their ability to navigate in poor weather. Also, regulators have to look into robot rigs, which aren’t approved right now everywhere. Finally, the transfer stations solution would require lots of infrastructure to hand off the cargo, including the strenuous analog to the algorithms.
Bloomberg notes that trucking companies could offset 10% of human driving even if they just focused on the U.S. Sun Belt. Getting the robots out nationwide would be able to cut down on half the company’s trucking hours.
PYMNTS wrote that in February, Volkswagen and Huawei were tentatively looking at partnering for an autonomous driving unit, which could cost billions of euros.
That has been a recent trend — automakers have been investing big amounts of money in autonomous driving, with some thinking it could be the next step for mobility.
According to Volkswagen Chairman Herbert Diess, autonomous driving might be a much more widespread and profitable field in 25 years.