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Robot Truckers Could Replace 500K U.S. Jobs

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A robot at the wheeel of a truck.

Autonomous driving engineers are squarely focused on long-haul freight, the interstate runs with almost no complexity save for a slow curve or an E-ZPass lane.

Credit: American Journal of Transporation

Autonomous driving engineers are developing driverless trucks for long-haul freight that runs along simple interstate routes.

Infrastructure may be the biggest challenge, and one solution is to establish transfer stations at either end so human drivers mount the first leg of the trip, hitch their cargo to robot rigs for the middle segment, then transfer freight back to an analog truck for delivery.

Another hurdle is designing self-driving trucks to navigate better in bad weather.

A University of Michigan-Carnegie Mellon University study estimated such a system could replace about 90% of human driving in U.S. long-haul trucking, or about 500,000 jobs.

Among the startups investing in robot truckers is CA-based TuSimple, which claims its self-driving systems can cut fuel consumption by up to 10%.

From Bloomberg Quint
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