Disruptors in the freight industry have been in the background for years. Ambitious start-up companies that leverage technology in an attempt to change the freight industry, while also carving out a piece of the $700 billion pie for themselves. Many have come and gone. However, what happens when larger corporations enter the arena to overhaul the freight industry?
Apps And the Freight Industry
We are halfway through 2017, and there have been a lot of proposals from major corporations such as Uber and Amazon to change the way the freight industry operates. Uber wants to give more power to business owners and independent drivers, by helping them to connect via an app and conduct transactions much faster. Amazon has similar goals, by allowing smaller customers to connect with truckers, with the app serving as the framework for the shipping contract. Both are positioned to launch very shortly.
Robots On The Road
The debate and discussion over automated trucks is nothing new in this industry. Various manufacturers have been trying to perfect the self-driving truck for years. What makes the discussion more heated these days is that with evidence of smaller self-driving vehicles on the road, the freight industry might not be far behind. The big difference is that smaller vehicles are for private drivers. Moving into the trucking industry could mean a major downsizing for skilled drivers. On top of it all, there is no way to tell if self-driving trucks can adjust for all of the factors that human drivers monitor while they are on the road.
Hitting The Tracks
The freight industry is not dependent on trucks alone. The rail industry is also seeing the push for automation. Many cities around the world already have a fully-automated commuter and freight trains, some of which have converted to alternative fuel sources. Legislation is already on the desks of elected officials to switch over to automated trains, which leaves many wondering how long before there is a similar push in the trucking industry.
How The Future Is Being Handled
As of now, government officials are taking a hands-off approach to the topic of automation and disruptors in the freight industry. At a state level, however, the freight industry is making its voice heard. In Wisconsin, for example, the state has recently signed an agreement with the state university in partnership with a scientific research company, to put self-driving trucks through their paces to determine exactly how safe they are for long periods of time, before determining if they should be allowed on the road at all. As for the present, the Teamsters and other groups who represent the interest of the freight industry are making their voices heard in Washington, DC, and elsewhere to preserve the livelihood of truckers across the country.