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If anyone took seriously all the predictions made about the future of the trucking industry over the past decade or so, you'd have to believe that by now we'd all be standing on the loading docks waving goodbye to driver-less trucks, as they chugged away with tanks full of B90 biodiesel. They'd roll out with state of the art V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) technology guiding them on to join fuel-efficient multi-truck platoons, rolling merrily along across the nation's roadways. It could still happen, and probably will, just not tomorrow.
When it comes to fulfilling the optimistic Silicon Valley prophecies of the twenty-first century autonomous (driver-less) trucking technology we are close. But no cigar yet. Not that OEMs and industry research and development have been slacking off. Quite to the contrary, leading-edge companies such as Bendix, Peloton, Volvo, and Paccar (maker of Kenworth and Peterbilt) are all investing heavily in ADAS. Paccar just opened a new innovation center in Silicon Valley focusing on ADAS and V2V technologies.
The key words here are "innovation" and "ADAS". That's 'Advanced Driver ASSISTANCE System'. There is still a long road ahead to an advanced driver REPLACEMENT system if one would ever be accepted by the general public at all. More realistically, we'll see a gradual transition from OTR, (over the road drivers), to CVO, or commercial vehicle operators manning the lead truck in a two or three truck platoon.
A trend from OTR to CVO is more realistic
Even after ADAS moves on from what is perceived as "innovative" to generally accepted "standard technology" it's probable that the human driver will never be excused completely from the heavy trucking industry. Advanced autopilots have been in use by commercial airlines for decades now, yet the public's peace of mind is still only satisfied by the requirement for two licensed human pilots in the cockpit for every flight. We can expect nothing less for the even more demanding environment of over the road transportation. Special situations such as HAZMAT and livestock hauling will always require a human presence.
One prediction we can make, (that won't need to be taken with a grain of salt), is that truck drivers are always in demand, always have been, and always will be. Country supply has a full selection of trailers and forklifts that work as hard as you do, so don't hesitate to contact us.
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