Self-driving trucks have been creating a buzz in the industry for years. The big mystery isn’t if they’re going to start finding their way into every part of the supply chain. Instead, it was a question of how. Many experts predicted a gradual shift, especially in larger companies. Others suspected that warehouses and manufacturers would use smaller autonomous vehicles on-site only. Even more people predicted platooning.
Platooning is when trucks form a convoy and are digitally connected. The truck at the front would be manually, or at least partially manually operated; depending on the size of the platoon, the rear truck may have a human driver, as well. But the trucks in the middle would be automated, using signals from the front vehicle to accurately gauge obstacles, speeds, and the route ahead.
But this was largely in theory. What’s changing?
1. Some states have removed the ban on platooning.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, automated vehicle platooning can and should be done with the right mechanisms. This report describes platooning’s regulations and legality in the fifty states. So far, nine of them have removed regulations that would block platoons.
If your company handles business in the nine states, or into adjacent states with similar green-light status, this can cut down your costs.
2. Research is starting to highlight the safety benefits.
Platooning started off as a potential way to save money and gain efficiency. But the practice can be safer, too. With the vehicles in lockstep, there is less potential for collisions or miscommunications as autonomous trucks start to become ubiquitous. The practice will require automated braking systems that respond as soon as the first vehicle starts to break. This not only makes it safer than platooning without the digital tethers, but safer than a line of manually driven vehicles.
Go to J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC. to see how all of these technological shifts and changing regulations will impact your business and to find the right insurance. We provide commercial truck insurance in the states of Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.