What Effect Will Automation Have on Logistics?
The subject of automation in the trucking industry has been widely discussed over the past few years. With names like Uber, Otto, Embark, and Tesla all taking steps to make driverless trucks a reality, a few key patterns are emerging.
The current landscape for autonomous vehicles seems to suggest that drivers will still be involved in some capacity or another. With certain models, drivers would be responsible for getting a truck to and from specifically made infrastructure designed for self-driving vehicles. In other cases, drivers would be in the truck during the entire trip, but only as a safety precaution.
In any case, it is clear that this type of change would definitely shake things up in the current freight industry. This has many wondering what other areas of the field may be affected. One practice which may be altered greatly is logistics. Planning out shipping activity in a strategic manner is key to any carrier’s success. Throwing driverless technology into the mix would mean changes in the way logistics professionals do their jobs.
In some cases, this could make things easier. The logistics department of any major carrier deals with the task of managing expenses in an efficient manner. Since driverless trucks are predicted to lower costs, logistics administrators would have more breathing room when it comes to making plans.
But the move toward automation may present other challenges that logistics professionals have never dealt with before. The cost new equipment, maintenance, and regulatory compliance required to bring in automation would have to be managed properly. In addition, new fees may be levied on users of autonomous technology to pay for the infrastructure upgrades needed to facilitate it.