Logistics with autonomous cars; the future is now.
An interesting advancement in logistics in recent years has been the innovation of self-driving vehicles. Although, we have to deal with circumstances that we have never dealt with before. The future is closer than we can expect.
Efforts have been led and promoted by Tesla founder, Elon Musk. He’s been at the forefront of electric cars. Musk has led Tesla to own around 18% of the world market in EV sales. Which propelled him to the #1 largest U.S. carmaker by enterprise value in America. But pioneering self-driving cars was not done first by Elon.
The first iteration of a self-driving car was produced by another American automotive giant General Motors. General Motors was ranked #1 by Forbes back in 1939 led by industrialist Norman Bel Geddes. Norman Bel Geddes created a system that could sense radio-controlled electromagnetic fields to which it could turn its wheel left or right. An examination ahead of its time.
This idea was expanded 30 years later by the Japanese. Instead of using radio-controlled electromagnetic fields, they were able to understand the images produced by the camera attached to their receptors which were able to move to speeds of up to 20 MPH! Which saw further advancement by the Germans in the 1980s. The German’s innovation moved to speeds of 56 MPH!
Ever-changing logistics advancement
The previous decades of self-driving cars were far from “autonomous” which is defined by Webster as “existing or capable of existing independently”. They needed specific requirements to drive themselves. But could not actively understand the dangers of the road. If they were met by any change in scenery the whole experiment would fall apart. Nowadays, we have cars that can help you park, break-in emergencies, and even drive for you as they can react to dangers on the road and maintain safe distances from others. Looking at where we are now it’s only a matter of time before they start creeping themselves into the largest growing industry in this day, logistics.
Any great logistics company strives to do one thing: innovate ways to provide better results.
It seems rather inevitable that the introduction of these trucks into our ecosystem can be prevented, slowed down, or halted. Taking humans out of equations leads to more productivity, and in turn more risk.
The main advantages surrounding these innovations are fuel-efficient alternatives, reduced congestion on the roads, and the overall time in which these machines can deliver loads. Elon Musk has tackled this future head-on. Although we have been slow in adopting these changes the industry will be better for it. The same way we adjusted to major shake-ups in our industry it’s a matter of time before we have to adjust to this.
The field of logistics today
It’s important to understand what’s the industry standard for trucks. Also, the implications that are present for the continuous advancement of electric vehicles.
The different trucks in our industry are:
Dry Van is the most common transportation option for any product. It’s a seal-enclosed area that protects your product. This is by far the most popular option for any transportation needs.
Refrigerated for shipments that require a specific delivery time in relation to the distance traveled, refrigerated transportation is used. This option is ideal for transporting frozen products to ensure the cold chain is not broken in transit.
Flatbed is different from the two methods mentioned above, which are closed trailers, a Flatbed is an open trailer. This allows greater flexibility when handling larger-sized or irregularly shaped loads, such as building materials.
Now that we understand the different trucks within the industry it’s important to know what happens next for each of them. 5.6 million semi-trailers exist in the US. All of them operated by either a man or woman. All these jobs could vanish in the next 10-20 years.