Automation is slowly taking over our lives to make it simpler. From successfully conducting precision surgeries to adjusting a route map depending on the traffic – automation is here to help everyone. However, several misconceptions revolve around the role of automation and its perceived threats.
Let’s explore the common misconceptions revolving around automation in trucking and dispel those myths:
Table of Contents
Myth #1: Truck Drivers Will Lose Their Jobs
One of the greatest inhibitions of embracing robotics and automation presents itself in the form of the fear that it will upset the labor market. However, the reality is far different from the common perception.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, truckers will not fall prey to automation. The reason why truckers will continue to stay in demand can be classified into the following two parts:
Truckers Do More Than Just Drive
Even though technology can handle the truck driving aspect, a truck driver does more than just “drive.” They are responsible for checking vehicles, securing cargos, setting up the car tracking device, and offering customer service. Naturally, most of these tasks do not fall under the ambit of automation.
While several activities, such as monitoring the truck health or maintaining a log through wireless dash cam may be automated to some extent, there will always be a requirement for human intervention. Hence, absolute and complete automation is not practically feasible.
Absolute Truck Driving Automation Will Take Time
Yes, we are living in the future and in the midst of the most exciting times. However, fully automated truck driving solutions are a thing of the future. For a deeper understanding, let us first consider what automation driving means.
As per the Society of Automotive Engineers, automation is denoted by levels from 0 to 5, with 0 being no automation and 5 corresponds to full automation. Naturally, higher levels will require lesser human intervention. As of now, companies are focused on Level 2 and 3 of automation.
Therefore, there is still a LOT of time until we make it to the top.
In a nutshell, truck drivers will not be displaced by automation.
Myth #2: Safety Features are In-Built Within Automated Vehicles
Self-driving vehicles have been pushing for safety for a good long while. Hence, one may think that automation would also cover safety regulation compliance, which would be inherently present.
Safety is not an afterthought. Safety is a feature that needs to be incorporated right from the conception stage of the technology development cycle. However, in the case of the trucking industry, safety practices are more reactionary than preventive.
For instance, if a truck is involved in a crash and someone is hurt, the action is follow up to these events. Therefore, the biggest obstacle that prevents default safety features within any automated vehicle is the lack of information, predictive models, and preventive techniques.
Automation can only be successful if it can cause a proactive shift towards preventing accidents and mishaps. Based on these inputs, technology can incorporate a layer of safety at each step along the way.
Myth #3: Automation is All About Autonomous Vehicles
Interestingly, even though autonomous vehicles are the talk of the town, automation goes beyond that. Automation could, in fact, make it easier for truck drivers to carry out their responsibilities.
For instance, automation can aid the following:
- Warehousing: Automated warehouses will boost efficiency, reliability, and accuracy. Furthermore, it will cut down on the loading/unloading times and ultimately boost your ROI. Technological innovations such as automated carrying vehicles, AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems), automatic conveyors, etc.
- Fleet Tracking: Real-time tracking addresses the concerns regarding the timely delivery of goods. Even if you cannot overcome the reason for the delay, you can always give your clients a heads up so that they are prepared. As a result of this constant communication and updates, automation enhances the customer experience and improves your bottom line.
- Analytical Automation: Data analytics is helping the trucking industry stay ahead in the game. Travel and logistic companies can now finally tap into the data potential and extract powerful insights that can make accurate predictions.
Myth #4: Automated Systems Can be Hacked and Controlled Remotely
All the devices and equipment in a fleet are deeply interconnected. Hence, it would be a genuine concern to worry about the safety of these networks. Any security breach could grant the hacker a chance to access everything else.
Fortunately, security experts have been actively working with automation developers to incorporate safety within the networks. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that money is the primary motivation behind cyberattacks. Hence, it would not make sense for a hacker to get into a transport and logistic network.
As the industry matures, developers will definitely work towards risk mitigation and bolstered security.
Myth #5: Autonomous Vehicles Will Face the Trolley Problem at Some Point
For several years, the Trolley Problem has been the cornerstone in determining the ethical judgment required to solve a moral dilemma. The thought experiment has received a lot of attention, especially in the case of self-driving cars.
However, on closer inspection, one realizes that the Trolley Problem does not apply due to the following reasons:
- Even human intelligence cannot find the “right” solution to the dilemma because regardless of the decision anybody takes, it would still count as poor.
- The end result, in either case, is neither well-known nor certain. The resultant damage could vary in terms of intensity or reaction.
- The probability of a self-driving car facing such a situation is extremely low.
The probability of such an incident taking place is abysmally low. Regardless, even when subject to this situation, an automated vehicle would be in a better position to solve the problem as the decision would be based on the issue of legality.
Automation promises great potential within the trucking industry. After busting these common misconceptions, it becomes apparent that automation will bring about a positive impact. With assured safety, convenience, efficiency, and productivity, automation may paint a colorful future in the area of travel and logistics.
Finally, it is all about staying up to date on the industry trends and the technological updates to visualize the way ahead!