People have been dreaming up the self-driving car since the 1920’s, with the first semi-automated car actually coming into the picture in 1977 in Japan. This car could go 19 miles per hour supported by an elevated rail, and needed to run on specially marked streets. From then to now in 2019, you have probably heard quite a bit about driverless trucks.
We’ve come a long way since then. You’ve probably heard of self-driving trucks zipping through the country already. But the technology for these trucks will likely not be perfected for a few more decades. And still, there are some people who will never fully trust a self-driving truck. Many companies are picking up on these caveats, and creating alternatives.
Why Drivers are Still Essential to Driverless Trucks
Some startups won’t have it any other way: it’s fully driver-less cars, or nothing. The technology, though, is so close, yet so far. If the systems function any less than perfect, then lives are at risk.
One company is weighing the pros and cons of driverless trucks, and landing somewhere in the middle. Starsky Robotics looked at self-driving concepts and decided to blend traditional trucking and autonomous trucking together.
Their truck is remote-controlled for the first mile and the last mile. Truckers will still be trucking, but from the comfort of an office, where they can return to their families after work is done, instead of staying on the road or a rest stop.
Tech or Traditional?
Stefan Seltx-Axmacher is the co-founder and chief executive at Starsky Robotics company. Stefan weighs in on decisions to straddle the line between the technology and traditional. “While others are trying to build fully autonomous trucks, we are building a truck that drives with no person in it and is remote-controlled for the first and last mile and that’s a completely different mindset.
We are not eliminating drivers’ jobs. Instead, we are moving them from a truck to a safe and comfortable office where they utilize years of their long-haul trucking experience, but remain close to their families and go home between shifts.”
This concept could be revolutionary for the trucking industry, a field that is struggling greatly to attract younger workers. Young people with their degrees don’t want to spend months at a time on the road. With advances in technology, the field could look much more inviting.
The turnover rate for large fleets in 2018 was a whopping 89 percent. Not only could remote trucking be a huge draw for new workers, it could completely revolutionize the logistics of the entire industry.
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