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Transportation and Logistics

For 80,000lb automated trucks, driving 65mph can change the future of delivery

The benefits of automated trucking could be just the what the logistics industry needs to transform our delivery model and thrive post COVID-19.

As of July 16th deliveries are restricted or limited in sixty-two countries around the world and delayed in others, due to COVID-19, reports support.nature.

Waymo Via, focused on trucking and local delivery, has been testing its driver technology (sensors, cameras and algorithms) on Peterbilt 579 Class 8 trucks and Chrysler Pacifica minivans since 2017; long before the advent of coronavirus and the interruptions it caused within the logistics and transportation sector.

It seems that Waymo imagines a steadfast logistics industry, including improving safety, speed and efficiency, based upon on automated vehicle technology.

And they're not the only ones.

Waymo won the support of investors near Mountain View, California in their first external fundraising round resulting in US$3b for both consumer and commercial projects. The company's competitors, Plus.ai and TuSimple are also attracting millions in support funding.

So why spend so much money on automated trucking technology?

Waymo Automated Driving System

Waymo's automated system can “see" three football fields away using cameras, radar and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. “We have roughly two times the sensors as a car does," Waymo explained to FleetOwner.com

In the article by FleetOwner.com, Waymo cites safety as the main reason to develop the tech, but basic delivery models also stand to benefit.

Automated trucking and fleet technology, like HERE Fleet Utilization, can make roads safer by eliminating human-related issues including fatigue and distraction, and also have the potential to change how we deliver goods by increasing productivity and lowering costs. “We believe our technology can help minimize... fleet downtime and have a positive effect on the company's reputations and insurance costs, as well as helping ensure that the shipments arrive safely, securely and on time...," Vijaysai Patnaik, Waymo Via's product lead said to FleetOwner.com

Here are just three examples of how automated trucking can make lasting positive effects:

Cost Savings

  • human drivers and the costs associated with them are significantly decreased.
  • automated trucks have no need to stop driving to rest for the night ensuring ETAs
  • routing algorithms automatically alter trips to avoid expensive delays
  • automated trucks are programmable to an ideal driving speed creating increased fuel efficiency

Enhanced distribution model

  • reduced transportation costs could lead to decreased, expanded or consolidated distribution centers

OR

  • shorter lead times, created by optimized journeys and mapping, could lead to an increased number of local storage hubs, allowing companies to reach more clients

Supply chain proficiency

  • automated equipment, tracking and real time data could lead to a 24/7 supply chain
  • trucks driving in an automated platoon following enhanced route planning can unload and load simultaneously, from a single warehouse, regardless of time of day
  • employees can observe the devices remotely via a cloud-based system and gather data to make improvements or shift operations as necessary

delivery truck

“...Due to an average 50% asset utilization and three-hour dwell times, inserting self-driving tech could improve [logistics] efficiency," Vijaysai Patnaik, Waymo Via product lead as reported by FleetOwner.com.

When autonomous trucking officially revolutionizes the trucking industry is yet to be determined, but companies like Waymo are investing in the payback now.

In fact, Waymo Via recently partnered with UPS to deliver packages. They're focusing on point-to-point and transfer hub deliveries, in the San Francisco Bay Area and from Houston to the Arizona-California border.

Find out how location services can support your fleet with HERE's Transportation and Logistics APIs.

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