How Close Are We to Shipping Plants With Driverless Trucks?
For all the steps that greenhouse growers are taking to navigate evolving trucking and shipping regulations, there’s one potential solution that may be on the horizon: driverless trucks. The question is, how long will it be before this technology becomes a reality?
“The technology exists right now for driverless trucks, but in the near future it’s most likely to be trucks operating in autonomous mode with human assistants,” says Gerry Hazzard, National Account Executive at Demountable Concepts. “Implementation timelines will be determined by a push-pull between electronic logging devices and enforcement of hours-of-service rules and the shortage of drivers vs. regulatory issues, public acceptance, testing, and roll-out times.”
Hazzard notes that Demountable Concepts’ components would be used pretty much the same way in driverless trucks as they are in conventional trucks today.
“Loading would be more efficient, and fewer truck power units would be required to do the same amount of work,” he says
To make sure it stays ahead of the curve in providing state-of-the-art interchangeable truck body solutions, Hazzard says Demountable Concepts maintains a dedicated in-house engineering staff that uses 3D software to create models of demountable solutions for each industry it serves.
“These models already help customers see and modify their equipment before manufacturing starts, and in the future, will enable companies to easily integrate the truck bodies and body swapping components we manufacture into their autonomous vehicles,” Hazzard says.
A.J. Lambert, Director, Sales and Account Management at Container Centralen, says he thinks driverless trucks could be beneficial to the industry.
“I believe the initial impact will be on long haul runs for shippers shipping between hubs,” Lambert says. “I don’t expect to see driverless trucks on the road anytime soon, so if customers are looking for ways to reduce costs in transportation, they need to more creative in how they are shipping their products.”
Keeping Up With the News
For growers who are interested in researching future developments in driverless trucks, check out these two articles:
• Transport Topics outlines how driverless trucks might work here
• Federal regulations paving way for driverless tricks, via U.S. News and World Report