The Texas Triangle

The interstate roads that connect San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are collectively known as the Texas Triangle.

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Google Maps
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Interstates 10, 45, and 35 are high-volume highways, especially for 18-wheelers that distribute goods to and from these metro hubs.

The next time you're rolling side by side with one of these big rigs, don't be surprised if you look up and see a steering wheel, but no driver.

Autonomous Trial Runs Happening Now in Texas

Navistar recently announced that they have been doing trial runs of self-driving 18-wheelers throughout the Texas Triangle. For now, all trucks have a safety driver on board to oversee maintenance, telematics, safety, and reliability, but the goal is to move to a fleet of fully autonomous big rigs in the not-to-distant future.

Navistar
Navistar
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Navistar manufactures trucks, and they have partnered with Plus to turn this automated hub-to-hub delivery system a reality. Plus is a company at the forefront of developing automated driving technology.

This Technology is Not Meant to Replace Drivers

Is this autonomous transportation a means to add to businesses' bottom lines by doing away with numerous drivers? According to a story in Transport Topics, that answer is no.

Like many other businesses, numerous trucking and distribution companies are having issues with staffing, training, and retention of employees. This technology is expected to boost the bottom line by allowing companies to add more trucks to their fleets.

Automated transportation is especially attractive when it comes to long-haul trucking. I'm assuming that not having to rest or sleep is one of the ways that operational efficiencies are increased when a computer is in control of the truck.

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Canva
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The Roll-Out of Automated Trucking

A specific timeframe has not been given for the switch to fully automated trucking with this Navistar/Plus venture. However, the demand for goods and their over-the-road delivery continues to grow and outpace supply and workforce. So, it seems inevitable that this new technology will be launched in full force before the end of this decade.

One question comes to mind, though...Will these programmers be able to build a truck that will automatically honk the horn when a kid in a passing vehicle gives the pull-down signal?

 

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