Autonomous driving is quickly gaining momentum in various parts of the world especially the United States. Texas hasemerged as one of the first states where self driving vehicles have picked up, thanks to progressive legislation and a trust in new technology. Texas has given innovation a chance so that investors can put their vision into practice. TCI Transportation has taken note of these developments and is keen to be part of the success story.
One of the reasons Texas has become a focus in self driving technology is that the state has attracted several companies looking to forward full autonomous driving. Full autonomous driving or completely driverless rides, have yet to be cleared by regulators, however, there are already several on the road. It’s believed that one reason Texas has become a focus in this area is its long highways that have significantly less traffic than average.
Test Vehicles Performing Well
Given that truck accidents in the US have been as many as 100,000 per year, semi-autonomous trucks and fully autonomous trucks are expected to greatly reduce the over 40,000 annual deaths caused by truck accidents. Although some people are still reserved about the idea of a semi-autonomous vehicle on the road, the vehicles already tested have scored well in terms of reduced road accidents and overall safety.
Right now most trucks on the road are semi-autonomous because regulations require a driver to be in the driver’s seat. However, the trucks themselves are already self-driving. It is expected that the stringent measures will be relaxed as the public gets used to this new technology. Perhaps one of the reasons most states have not fully permitted completely autonomous trucking is the reluctance to let go of the human aspect to driving. Nonetheless, there is hope.
For Texas and other states that are slowly permitting autonomous driving, with a human driver on board just in case, is due to several advantages that autonomous trucking technology offers. Semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous trucking technology maintains complete focus on the road and the journey. Human drivers, though competent, can sometimes be easily distracted. This improves safety. The priority is always the safety of everyone on the road.
Most importantly, autonomous and semi-autonomous trucks do not get angry, tired, or impatient. This aspect takes out factors that can easily lead to accidents. It also demonstrates the level of safety and security that such technologies offer. Texas understands these capabilities and has consequently resorted to giving autonomous technology a chance to improve how trucking companies do business.
Latest Updates in Self-Driving
As autonomous trucks make their way onto the scene, some people have fears that this change will render people jobless. Self-driving trucks simply fill the gaps in the growing market and trucking companies will likely not need to lay-off their drivers to adopt technology trucks as the human aspect remains part of the semi-autonomous technology. Currently, a driver must always be in the driver’s seat. Therefore, a drivers’ job is not under any threat.
As trucking technology continues to grow through research and improvement, autonomous vehicles continue to become more and more reliable. For instance, the use of artificial intelligence enables these vehicles to multitask in a way that human drivers cannot. They use very powerful processors with a capacity for processing gigabytes of data per second. This means that their decision-making within what has been programmed is very reliable.
Furthermore, an autonomous truck also improves efficiency in terms of time management and fuel consumption. Time management efficiency is achieved by its ability to drive without getting tired. Unlike drivers that may get tired and experience reduced concentration on the road, autonomous trucks keep going while observing the highest safety standards. In fact, they are developed with the safety of other drivers in mind.
To drive seamlessly and safely, self-driving vehicles make use of artificial intelligence that combines the use of a camera, LIDAR, and GPS. LIDAR is a laser-based technology used to give an accurate visual of objects around the vehicle up to several yards. This is complemented by radar technology that also calculates the distance of objects around the vehicle. The camera reads the traffic signs and increases visibility around the vehicle. When these senses are combined and processed as data, an autonomous vehicle gets a clear picture of what is happening around it. The sensors offer 360 degrees of visual and movements around the vehicle. The central processor combines these data to navigate the vehicle smoothly.
Lane changes are one the most complex maneuvers for driverless trucks. Video: Waymo
As one of the trucking industry leaders, TCI Transportation encourages the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology to improve reliability and efficiency. Many vehicle manufacturers are currently focusing on semi-autonomous trucks because the segment is growing very fast.
What the Future of Self-Driving Looks Like
Most safety advocates see a future where highway safety will improve as emerging innovations refine the existing driverless technologies. It is also expected that there would be an increase in public trust. For now, the business will continue to tailor its services around self-driving technology to improve the efficiency of its operations and deliveries. If you desire to be updated on the developments of this area, you can sign up for TCI’s email list here.