in the U.S. is a $700 billion industry. Even though there are more than three
million truck drivers, there is still a shortage, which is delaying some
shipments and putting a crimp in the logistics grid.
One way the industry is trying to combat these problems is
with self-driving trucks, also called autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs are
already being used for indoor warehouse operations, but they have the potential
to completely reform the entire logistics industry.
While many manufacturers, including Volkswagen, Toyota,
Volvo, Daimler and Tesla are starting from scratch to produce their own models,
Uber and Embark have been installing AV technology into existing trucks. Developers
of this autonomous technology envision a future where technology and human
drivers work together to transport freight. One model would use unmanned trucks
that would travel longer distances on the highways, then swap trailers at
designated transfer stations with trucks that are operated by local drivers.
Another model would expand upon truck platooning to combine a mix of piloted
and self-driving vehicles.
Proponents say not only will AVs alleviate the labor shortage,
they can improve efficiency, better protect the environment and save money. For
starters, self-driving trucks would eliminate certain laws that govern drivers’
driving times which often hinder operations.
Speaking of operations, AV technology will certainly have an
impact on distribution centers. Many companies build their logistics and
distribution hubs according to an assumption that trucks drive an average of
500 miles a day. The size of the market determines how many facilities are
needed and where they should be located. If self-driving trucks increase the
travel distance, say to 1,000 miles a day, the size and location of the
distribution centers would likely change.
No matter what happens in the future, one thing remains
certain: logistics and distribution centers will always need security. In all
likelihood, cargo theft will still be a big issue. Stealth Monitoring provides
customized video surveillance solutions that work in real time, to catch events
as they happen. Using a combination of video analytics and human intelligence,
our trained security operators can watch for unusual activity to help deter
theft, damage and liability, for up to 60% less than the cost of a traditional
guard. As an added service, we also offer remote gate security and access
control solutions that can verify driver ID, inspect trailers and track
inventory entering and exiting the facility.
Even though self-driving truck technology is still in its
infancy, the vision that it will help trucking and logistics companies increase
efficiency and lower operating costs. For more information about our proactive
security solutions, contact us here.