Kodiak ushers new era of autonomous long-haul transportation
Commercial trucking is the backbone of the US economy. That has never been more evident than in the past few years, as COVID related supply chain disruptions gripped the country.
At the same time, it’s becoming harder and harder to find people who want to drive trucks. The average American truck driver is about 48 years old and for long haul truckers, the average age is even higher, which may help explain why there was a shortage of 80,000 drivers in the U.S. last year, according to the American Trucking Association.
Many industry analysts believe long haul commercial trucking is likely to be the first major use case of autonomous vehicle technology as highway driving is a less complicated problem to solve compared to the many nuances of negotiating secondary roads and city streets.
Additionally, from an economic standpoint, the trucking industry can benefit more from vehicle autonomy. The cost of an autonomous driving system is more easily amortised in a truck that operates for between one million and two million miles. Plus, the average human-driven truck is only used for 7.5 hours a day, due to hours of service limitations. An autonomous truck can double or even triple truck utilization, only stopping to refuel, receive, and pick up new loads.