If you’ve ever had a tough time parallel parking your car on a busy side street, you may have dreamed of what it would be like to have a self-driving vehicle that could take over such a challenging moment on the road. The technology is here and available. Freight delivery and shipping services will be likely to explore self-driving trucks first, explains this article by Richard Weiss on Bloomberg Business Week. The adaption of self-driving delivery vehicles will result in these top five changes for freight and package delivery.
Alternative Delivery Options
An increase in online shopping has lead to an increase in packages delivered to residences that sit empty all day while their occupants are at work during routine delivery hours. Self-driving vehicles may offer new alternative delivery options, such as to the trunk of the consumer’s vehicle at the work parking lot. Other options may include centralized pick-up services similar to postal boxes where the trucks will deliver the freight and consumers go to pick it up.
Vision Guidance Technology
The shipping process can be complex, as products must be selected, an appropriate size of shipping container must be chosen, each item must be put into the box and the box must be sealed and addressed for delivery. Self-driving vehicles will have enhanced vision guidance technology so that these carefully packed packages are not damaged during the loading and unloading process. Just as no human drivers may be needed to operate the delivery trucks, robots may be the ones doing the loading and unloading of the vehicles.
Obeying Traffic Regulations
Enhanced self-driving vehicles will be built with systems to ensure they obey all traffic regulations and operate safely on the roads. These systems will ensure that freight trucks stay in their lanes, obey speed limits, enter and exit highways safely and signal lane changes and turns. This may help to increase the safety of the freight delivery industry and for others who share the roadways.
Reduction of Long-Haul Schedules for Drivers
During busy seasons such as the holiday rush or during times of weather problems, freight delivery drivers may have to deal with long hours on the road. Self-driving vehicles may be able to reduce these long hauls such that for part of a cross-country journey or during overnight shifts, the trucks will be able to drive themselves to their destinations. The process will begin with semi-automatic driving trucks in 2015 and should soon thereafter expand to fully self-driving vehicles.
Enhanced Logistics Economics
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to increase the efficiency of the freight delivery process. According to FreightRun, ongoing technology enhancements will cut the cost of freight delivery services while expanding the scope of services that customers receive. From automatic tracking updates of where your package is to booking pickup and delivery services online from your smartphone or tablet, such technology along with self-driving vehicles will get your freight delivered faster and at a competitive price.