In June this year, on a Florida motorway, the first transport of cargo by truck without a driver took place. This is only the beginning of what an American manufacturer of autonomous vehicles is planning to do in the future.
On June 16 this year, thanks to the cooperation of vehicle manufacturer Starsky Robotics and digital forwarding company Loadsmart, the first fully autonomous transport of cargo on public roads in the United States took place. A truck without a driver drove on Florida’s Turnspike motorway for a total of 9.4 miles (about 16 km). The vehicle was moving at 55 miles per hour (approx. 88.5 km/h). The vehicle was controlled by a remote operator in Jacksonville observing in real-time six channels from cameras mounted outside the truck cab. He drove the vehicle using a steering wheel similar to the one used in video games.
This is the next stage of technology development. In February last year, the company’s autonomous truck drove unmanned 7 miles at 25 miles per hour, but the road was closed to other users.
Encouraged by the recent success, Starsky has announced that it will increase the pace of testing and the number of vehicles, reports the tt.news.com portal. According to the co-founder and CEO of Starsky, Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, autonomous trucks will be the perfect solution for the US transport industry worth $676 billion. After all, it is estimated that the shortage of drivers in the United States will reach 100,000 in the next few years.
Autonomous trucks in Europe
This year, a 26-ton autonomous truck was put into service. Cabinless T-Pod of the Swedish start-up Einride in May this year received license plates and a permit to drive on the roads in Sweden. It is the first autonomous truck in history to have been approved for use on public roads. According to German press reports, the truck travels from DB Schenker’s logistics centre in Jönköping to the port of Gothenburg, 150 km east of the city of Gothenburg.