In the past few years, automotive technology has played a part in performance and safety improvement for the transportation field as well as long-term cost reduction, thanks to the abilities of unmanned vehicles. It is predicted that unmanned automotive technology will be even more optimized, surpassing its limit to become widely accepted in the near future.
Unmanned Vehicles, including motor trucks, trailer trucks, and trains, will become crucial for freight and logistics providers, reshaping the economics of the shipping industry. While the giant technology companies are developing “logistics innovation” like “autonomous trucks and trains”, the related sectors in the transport industry are also analyzing the differences and advantages of autonomous trucks and trains. When the innovation fully launches, the shortage problem of truck driver staff will be resolved and the shipping cost for the logistics providers will be reduced, as the technology will increase efficiency in fuel consumption and accident prevention. With the autonomous system, the future “Transportation Landscape” will unquestionably change. (Reference: blog.scssoft.com, forbes.com)
The test was a simulation demonstrating how future technology is able to manage large and complicated tasks at every step. The procedure was controlled by researchers who interviewed the participants before, during, and after the project. The result reveals that the staffs are more comfortable and confident in their work, while some staffs think that unmanned vehicles can solve problems and obstacles as effectively as humans.
In 2019, it was an important step to implement the driverless L4 electric truck commercially. China has been striving to develop environmentally-friendly transportation by supporting the implementation of smart trucks in the transport and logistics industry. The initial steps include the implementation of unmanned vehicles on smart highways and the launch of lightweight electric smart container trucks with faster charging and longer vehicle range, starting with the master project in Beijing – Tianjin – Hebei. (Reference: www.th.truck-cnhtc.com)
In 2019, the VOLVO VERA was tested on the real field under the cooperation between VOLVO TRUCKS and a logistics and ferry company named DFDS. The test was controlled and monitored via the VERA application that connected the VOLVO VERA to DFDS’s logistics control center. The transportation route was from the DFDS’s logistics center to APM’s port center in Gothenburg for cargo ship boarding. The result went well and the company still continues to develop unmanned trailer trucks to fulfill the aims of autonomous transportation: delivery accuracy and emission reduction. This is considered another critical step toward the new era of transportation. (Reference: https://www.autotirechecking.com)
In 2020, Hutchison Ports, Thailand’s leading port company and the world’s innovation leader for smart ports, announced the launch of an unmanned truck for the operational test on Terminal D at Laem Chabang Port, Chon Buri, which is the first in Thailand and one of the first groups in the world. The launch was a crucial step for main infrastructure development in Thailand under the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development Plan, with the unmanned truck technology ‘Qomolo’ that enhanced operational performance and safety at Terminal D. This major investment will not only benefit the customers and Terminal D users but will also be a great asset for the relevant parts in the EEC Plan, which is an important gateway to the Mekong region as well. (Reference: https://www.logisticafe.com)
In the future, when the “Internet Of Things-IoT” becomes a part of every human activity, such technology of autonomous motor trucks, trailer trucks, and trains will soon replace the existing ones. Despite the greater difficulty in the development process, in the long run, autonomous trucks will be able to efficiently solve the staff shortage and the problems of the transport and logistics industry.
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