It’s happening. California has just issued permits for testing of self-driving cars. Companies will be allowed to test-drive their driverless cars on the road, legally. Of the 29 permits issued, 25 of them go to Google, to test their adapted Toyota Lexus SUVs. Two permits went to Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, and two permits for Volkswagen AG’s Audi. Hey, if they’re going to do this, it may as well be in California. I won’t be a pedestrian out there any time soon, so go ahead Google. Sorry Californian’s. But on the other side, if this is a success, you can take all the credit for your innovation.
The little-known secret is, this testing has already been going on for at least two years, without permits. New legislation requires permits now, that’s all, according to the Guardian.
And there’s another little-known secret, or maybe I should say, elephant in the room. And that is- cars breakdown. It’s only a matter of time. If they live long enough, they break. You heard it here first.
So, what does a self-driving car have to do with freight rates, you ask?
Well, we’ve already seen remote control trucks being used in off-road work. But those beat the crap out of the truck. A person couldn’t ride in one comfortably. But now, this technology makes for a smooth ride- and it goes down the road. That’s a huge difference. If this goes well for cars, naturally, trucks will be next. Maybe a generation from now, freight shipping will cost even less when you don’t have to hire a driver.
In a way, I’m scared of it. But in another way, I love it. I think it could evolve into a real life-saving technology eventually. Think about how many people get killed in car accidents, get hit by cars, etc. If we all had one of these self-driving cars, there would probably never be another accident, ever.
Is that really possible? Who knows. But it is a worthy goal. Go for it Google.
Ken Skaggs is a 30-year veteran trucker and safety professional, who has always been a writer, and an entrepreneur at heart. Since 2000, he’s had 150+ articles published by Ten-Four Magazine, Careers in Gear, Driver Story Magazine, and dozens of websites.