When it comes to self-driving technology, there are many potential implications to keep in mind at all times. To date, the number of autonomous vehicle son the public road has remained fairly limited. In the US, there will be a real-world trial by USPS involving self-driving trucks for mail delivery. A remarkable milestone which can make the whole system a lot more efficient.
USPS Bets big on Self-Driving Trucks
It is remarkable to see how well-known companies and service providers are willing to go when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Despite there still being plenty of risks associated with this technology, it is fairly obvious there are a lot of potential advantages to explore as well. As far as USPS is concerned, the company wouldn’t mind testing the waters in terms of making mail delivery more efficient along the way.
Such a trial will be conducted over the course of the next two weeks. The main objective is to see how the self-driving trucks behave and whether or not they can effectively influence the way mail is delivered across the entire United States. Although the trial will only focus on three Southwestern states first and foremost, the data gathered from this trial will prove invaluable further down the line. There is still a long way to go until all of the US sees eye-to-eye when it comes to autonomous vehicles.
The self-driving trucks taking care of this trial are the property of TuSimple, a San Diego-based startups. They confirmed this trial will allow the trucks to move mail between Phoenix and Dallas to determine whether or not improvements can be made. In terms of delivery costs and times, there is always plenty of room for further growth. However, it remains unclear if self-driving trucks will be beneficial or make things even worse moving forward.
During this brief test, a total of five round trips will be performed by the trucks. Every trip is over 2,100 miles in length or roughly 45 hours of driving. Depending on how this trial goes, the project may be extended or even expanded upon. USPS Sees this as a viable research and testing approach to potentially incorporate this innovative technology.
It is also worth noting this experiment is not paid for through tax dollars. Instead, the costs are offset through sales of postage and other products. It is not the cheapest experiment by any means, but it if it can help reduce overall costs, USPS will have found a winning strategy. Considering how the self-driving trucks will pass through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, there is a good chance someone traveling the major interstates in those regions will come across one of the TuSimple trucks over the next few weeks.
This new experiment comes at a crucial time for the truck-driving industry. Reports indicate the shortage of truck drivers will rise to 174,500 in the next five years. As such, there need to be solutions in place to counteract this particular problem. Whether or not self-driving trucks are the answer to this looming problem, is a different matter altogether. This USPS trial is a pretty big development for the industry as a whole. If successful, the future looks brighter than ever before.