I In the USA, letters and parcels will soon also be transported by self-driving trucks. The state-owned company United States Postal Service has signed a contract with the start-up TuSimple for a two-week field test to use self-driving articulated trucks.
During this period, 10,000 miles (around 16,000 kilometers) are to be covered on routes between Phoenix in the US State of Arizona and Dallas, Texas. In the shuttle traffic between these two mail distribution centers, the trucks should be on the road during the day and also at night.
22 hours each way
To monitor the functions and also to be able to intervene in an emergency, there are always two people on board. A safety driver and an engineer. Each trip on the 1,000-mile route should take 22 hours, the average speed of the trucks is a good 73 km /h. Long distances like this, coupled with a short loading and unloading time, are ideal for autonomous commercial vehicles. Here you can fully exploit your advantages.
Dr. Xiaodi Hou, founder of TuSimple, says: 'It is exciting to think about the fact that letters and parcels come to people in self-driving trucks long before they are in robo-taxis.'
Lack of trucking Drivers is increasing
The transport industry should closely follow developments in autonomous driving and tests like this one. There is a shortage of drivers not only in Europe, but also in the USA. According to the American Truck Association (ATA), the number of unoccupied cockpits could rise to 175,000 by the year 2024.
If long journeys, which often mean weeks away from family and friends for the driver, will be replaced by autonomous moving trucks and the human drivers concentrate on short and medium-haul traffic, this should improve the attractiveness of the profession again.