The combination of weather conditions and traffic patterns in Arizona has made it a key geographical location for testing autonomous tech on the roads and now adapting that same tech to semi-trucks. ABC15 investigated the revolutionary technology that some claim is changing the industry at a rapid pace. Everything from infrastructure to goods delivered to your door was transported on a truck, with someone driving long hours to get it there.
The trucking industry is still experiencing a driver shortage and this is the beginning of an autonomous transition. ”We’ve got an industry with drivers that average 55 years old. New people don’t want to come into driving even though they can make $100,000 a year with a college education,” said Tony Bradley, the president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association. TuSimple, an autonomous driving technology company, successfully completed an 80-mile trip from Tucson to Phoenix over the holidays last year. They also reported that “Google’s spin-off company, Waymo Via, has wheels on the ground in several Southwest states. Their autonomous trucks typically have someone behind the wheel, just in case. John Verdon is a lead for that department.”
According to the Arizona Trucking Association, some of the technology seen on these autonomous trucks is already in use on regular fleets, such as adaptive cruise control and forward assisting brakes.