(Oil Price) While Google’s Waymo company has taken center stage for bringing self-driving cars to roads, autonomous trucking may make it to the mainstream first.
Silicon Valley startups, technologists, and venture capitalists see great potential in the technology—even more than most traditional trucking companies are supporting.
For months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has put out teasers that the electric carmaker will soon reveal an electric semi-truck with autonomous capabilities. That announcement may take place this week, on November 16.
Embark, a Silicon Valley start-up, is scheduled to release details next week on its self-driving technology for trucking. The automated system has tested in partnership with truck-leasing company Ryder and Electrolux, an appliance manufacturer. Trial runs are exploring the potential of transporting trailers to Electrolux’s California warehouses with autonomous trucks.
CB Insight, which tracks venture capital, reports that companies will place about $1 billion in commercial truck autonomous systems this year, 10 times the level of spending three years ago.
The $700 billion trucking industry continues to be an integral part of the U.S. economy, and that of other economic giants and developing countries around the world. With more manufacturing happening overseas in places like China, trucking is part of making sure everything from automobiles to packaged food products make it to warehouses and end users on time.
Trucking companies and giants who invest heavily in logistics—like Amazon and Walmart—see great potential in cutting costs and speeding up delivery times. That will come via cutting labor costs when truck drivers no longer become necessary, and by extending the hours that commercial trucks can be kept in operation…