Some investors expect trucks to overtake cars in becoming fully autonomous and profitable, with trucks facing fewer regulatory and technological barriers to deployment.
Startup data platform PitchBook estimated that investment in self-driving logistics vehicles jumped from $1.3 billion to $6.5 billion in the year through Dec. 6, while outlays for robotaxi firms shrank from $10.8 billion to $8.4 billion.
Robotic Research's Alberto Lacaze said his company was deploying autonomous vehicles at scale where the business case works for clients "right now."
Lacaze said, "They don't have to wait until 2025, unlike robotaxis where you need to have the cost of all the sensors come down by an order of magnitude."
Still, realizing a national autonomous truck network will be a long journey, because driverless trucks will slow to respond to unpredictable human drivers.
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