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The Long Road to Driverless Trucks


Companies know the technology is a long way from the moment trucks can drive anywhere on their own, so they are looking for ways to deploy self-driving trucks solely on highways.

Credit: Matt Williams

A partnership between Mountain View, CA-based self-driving startup Kodiak Robotics and trucking company U.S. Xpress resulted in a self-driving 18-wheeler driving goods between Dallas and Atlanta, traveling over 6,300 miles over five days in March.

It would have taken a traditional truck over 10 days to make the same deliveries, considering drivers’ required rest periods.

However, safety drivers riding in the cab of the self-driving truck took control of the wheel multiple times, underscoring issues delaying the deployment of fully driverless trucks.

Researchers must work to ensure the technology can respond to sudden accidents.

Further, companies must build a network of "transfer hubs," where cargo is unloaded and the trucks are refueled, and drivers are needed for the short haul from the transfer hubs to final destinations.

From The New York Times
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