Robot Trucks – How Do They Work?

It seems in this day and age that every time we turn around, there are more and more robots doing the things that humans used to do. It started out small, but now there are robots in the medical field, our schools, and even in the trucking/transportation industry.

Yes, it’s true. For some time now, robotic (autonomous) trucks have been hauling freight (for the majority of the trip) from warehouses to distribution centers. Who would’ve thought that it would come to this? For the time being, a computer chauffeur (a human) monitors the ride in the cab of the truck. Ultimately, however, the goal is for robotic trucks to fly solo along the highways and byways.

Who Is Responsible for This?

When it comes to autonomous technology, the smartest use of it lies not in personal cars, but semi’s. This is according to a company that goes by the name Embark who, for some time now, have been delivering refrigerators with new, high-tech, robotic trucks. Other robo-truckers are being worked on by Waymo, Elan Musk’s Tesla, Daimler, and Volvo.

An autonomous truck from Uber has been making deliveries across Colorado involving cases of beer. In fact, more and more companies jump on the robo-truck bandwagon every day.

Why Do We Need Robotic Trucks?

Currently, there is a trucker shortage. Autonomous trucks would help solve that problem. And as long as these robotic trucks keep a safe distance from other vehicles, it’s not that big of a problem keeping them in their lane along highways. If they don’t have to deal with variables like traffic lights, cyclists, pedestrians, etc., it’s a relatively easy process.

Additionally, robotic trucks can’t text while driving and they never get tired. This will cut down on crashes involving delivery/transport vehicles and others who end up on the losing end of a crash with them. Of course, not everyone is excited about this latest development – i.e., the Teamsters.

The Human Element Still Matters

These sample runs that Embark is using for refrigerator delivery still require the human element in addition to the rider in the cab. Someone has to drive the loaded trailer to a pickup point where the robotic truck hitches up the trailer. The robotic truck goes along its way on the highway to the drop off point where another human hitches the trailer onto their truck to take the load the rest of the way.

The speed limit is always followed and the robotic truck sticks mostly to the right-hand lane. Some tweaking probably still needs to be done when it comes to the robotic truck’s handling of things like lane changes, construction zones, merges, etc. And, at least for the predictable future, the human element will still be making trailer pickups and drop offs for the robotic truck.

At Mickey Genuine Parts, we aren’t selling robotic trucks as of yet. We do, however, appreciate technology and do our best to keep up. If you are in the market for parts, used or new trailers, accessories, and more, contact us today at Mickey Genuine Parts. Speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members to see what we can do for you and your ride.

And don’t forget that Mickey has certified service centers located throughout the United States for your convenience.

Let’s keep truckin'.

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