Driverless Freight Haulage: weighing up the issue
Technology and innovation are improving industries of all kinds all the time. However, the route to effectiveness and efficiency isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like. When new technologies emerge, it’s up to the industry leaders to make a judgement on whether it’s boom or bust this time around.
Undoubtedly the hot question in the world of freight and haulage at the moment has to do with driverless vehicles. Get it right, and the industry could be swiftly revolutionised, making vast cost savings which could be passed on to consumers across the world (a recent AXA UK study estimated industry savings over the next ten years to top £34 billion). Get it wrong, and the industry could have a lot to answer for.
The Argument for Driverless Haulage
Easing labour pressures
At the moment, labour is one of the freight industry’s biggest costs and isn’t always easy to find.
HGV careers require a great deal of commitment. Drivers undergo lengthy training and long periods of time spent away from home, without much human interaction. As a career, it’s considered extremely challenging.
Driverless technology hugely reduces the cost of labour at the same time as easing the demand for a role which appeals only to a select few.
Reducing fuel usage
Moving large amounts of freight around the world places a high demand on resources. Needless to say, this is costly both for freight companies and for the environment. Driverless haulage technology maximises efficiency, saving the planet and driving down unnecessary fuel costs. These are yet more savings which can be passed on to clients and consumers.
Freight drivers are among the best drivers on the road but accidents do happen, and when they do they are invariably caused by human error. Today’s advanced technologies, such as Proximity Control Assist and three-dimensional mapping, remove the potential for human error and make the roads safer for other users.
The Argument against Driverless Haulage
Loss of Jobs
A challenging and expensive role, the industry’s move away from the use of human drivers is good for all involved in the long term, but there are clear short term drawbacks to the introduction of this technology. Loss of jobs being a top concern.
It’s important to understand, however, that projections for the technology’s development do not remove the need for human oversight in the near future. At this stage, the technology is playing a supplementary and assisting role, not replacing the jobs of long-term and experienced drivers.
Today, the freight haulage industry prides itself on its safety. Drivers undergo thorough training and are the most experienced on the road. While advocates of driverless technology insist that it will bring only positive changes in this respect, not all road users are convinced. Feeling safe on the road demands a high level of trust, and until driverless technology becomes more commonplace, some road users might find this trust hard to summon.
On The Cusp
With technologies quickly developing, the freight industry looks to be on the cusp of a move which could see the industry landscape shifting dramatically.
The move towards widespread use of driverless technologies is extremely attractive for businesses which rely on the transportation of large amounts of goods. The key for the industry itself is to practice patience and to see that these positive changes are implemented over time in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Today, even without driverless technology, Bridgeway Freighting is at the forefront of the industry. Get in touch to discuss quotes for both national and international haulage solutions.