Autonomous trucks are here

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Autonomous driving is no longer exclusive to Silicon Valley hot rods. The Vera is a self-driving, cabin-free semi truck that is currently being developed by Volvo.

Despite Uber’s recent withdrawal from trucking, many analysts believe that the transport industry is still ripe for automation. Because semi trucks generally travel simple routes and avoid crowded areas,  autonomous trucking technology is relatively simple to develop.

According to Volvo, every Vera truck is connected to a control center that monitors its position, battery level and contents. This control center can also adjust the truck’s speed, which ultimately results in more efficient deliveries.

The Vera is designed for repetitive, short-distance tasks, which makes it ideal for ports, factories and logistics centers.

The driver-free vehicle is designed to handle standard containers and trailers.

“The full potential of the transport industry is yet to be seen,” said Mikael Karlsson, vice president of autonomous solutions at Volvo Trucks. “The industry needs to find new ways to meet the increased demand on transport in an efficient and sustainable way. Therefore, new solutions need to be developed to complement what’s available today.”

The autonomous truck can conduct “round-the-clock operations,” Volvo said, adding that their electric drivetrains reduce noise, fuel consumption and emissions.

One of the key issues surrounding autonomous trucks is their impact on human drivers. 

“Obviously, this will affect drivers in these applications, but in the big picture we foresee an increased need for skilled drivers,” Karlsson said. “I strongly believe that technology drives prosperity and takes society forward. In many factories today, some parts of the production are highly automated while some still need to be operated by people. I believe that the transport industry will evolve the same way.”

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Featured Image Credit: depositphotos.com.

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