Driverless cars and trucks essentially carry the same purpose. However, there’s something different about the prospect of lorries embracing our roads freely. They bring a whole host of implications, as this not only impacts commercial procedures; it also harbours a certain amount of uncertainty amongst those that currently sit behind the wheel.
Uber recently trialled their driverless truck “OTTO” out on the highways to see whether it’s first delivery, a crate of beer, would be a success. Whilst the package may not seem particularly glamorous in the eyes of some, the positive outcome of this feat is a defining moment in the world of transportation. A large amount of anticipation has been built up surrounding the development of autonomous cars but it is speculated that the presence of self-driving trucks could actually be seen on our roads a lot sooner than cars. This is because within urban environments like Manchester cars are greeted with the hustle and bustle of the everyday commute as well as being required to work in harmony with other forms of transportation and of course pedestrians. Whereas, this isn’t a major obstacle for these vehicles to face on a highway.
Currently, smoothing out the groundwork of these vehicles is a priority but evidence of them becoming a permanent member of our roads is yet to be seen. The triumph of these plans all relies on whether they can mimic or predict human behaviour to avoid any accidents throwing a spanner in the works. The experiment conducted by Uber wasn’t left completely unescorted. In fact, the test needed a human chaperone to accompany the truck throughout its journey. For safety reasons, a human driver was present so that they could take control should things not go to plan. Just like autonomous cars, the welcome that the driverless trucks have been welcomed with can only be described as lukewarm, at best. Many of us like to see a friendly face deliver our orders and it is this that is something these trucks cannot replicate.
What do you think of driverless vehicles? Are they a good addition to a couriering workforce or the total opposite?