||07-31-2013 05:25 PM
Technology taking over trucking
Is this where Spider went? Did he get replaced by a machine?
Some 5.7 million Americans are licensed as professional drivers, steering the country’s vast fleets of delivery vans, UPS trucks and tractor-trailers. Over the next two decades, the driving will slowly be taken on by the machines themselves. Drones. Robots. Autonomous trucks. It’s already happening in a barren stretch in Australia, where Caterpillar Inc. will have 45 self-directed, 240-ton mining trucks maneuvering at an iron-ore mine.
Most of the hubbub around autonomous technology has focused on passenger vehicles, notably Google’s promotional wonder, the Google Car. Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. says self-driving cars will hit roads by 2025. But commercial uses are where the real money and action lie: rewiring a massive part of the U.S. economy while removing tens of billions in costs from a commercial fleet that today numbers 253 million trucks.
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