Self-Driving Trucks to Dominate Highways in Coming Years

( – Trucking is a major industry in the U.S., responsible for transporting around 72.6% of freight in the country, and one company is looking to revolutionize the industry by deploying thousands of self-driving trucks all around America’s roads and freeways.

Aurora Innovation, a Pittsburgh-based firm, is currently running tests on autonomous-driving semi-trucks, each equipped with 25 laser, radar and camera sensors. The multiple sensors give the vehicle the ability to sense obstructions and other obstacles as far as a quarter of a mile out, and allows it to make the necessary adjustments, such as pulling over, changing lanes, or making a stop.

The large deployment of self-driving trucks is expected to hit U.S. highways in the next three or four years, and is expected to lower transport costs – such as fuel and driver salaries and benefits – and minimize accidents. And because these vehicles can operate virtually around the clock, deliveries are also expected to become much faster and more efficient. Aurora says that it has been deploying a small fleet of self-driving trucks since 2021, and have recorded only three accidents to-date – all attributed to human error committed by other drivers on the road. By the end of this year, the company says that it is looking to have roughly 20 trucks carrying loads and plying routes along Texas’s Interstate 45, between Dallas and Houston.

While other companies such as Tesla and Waymo (owned by Google / Alphabet) are also playing around with self-driving technology, their focus is on personal vehicles. Aurora is one of the first firms to use the technology for semi-trucks. They do have competitors such as, Kodiak Robotics and Gatik, but only Gatik has a projected timeframe for putting its own self-driving semis on the road – which is either this year or next year.

The company’s main challenge right now will be to assuage public fears surrounding self-driven vehicles – a poll by AAA indicates that more than 60% of respondents do not trust a self-driving vehicle and would be afraid to ride in one. Another challenge is the lack of regulation, which some observers speculate could create safety concerns.

Copyright 2024,