What will self-driving trucks mean for truck drivers? – BBC News
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
“Last week, I put 73 hours in. You’re not getting home through the week,” Craig Hoodless says of his job behind the wheel of a truck.
“After a full day’s driving you’re mentally knackered but physically fine. Being a long-distance driver has to be a job you love. You can’t do this job if you don’t like it.”
Mr Hoodless, based in Cumbria in north-west England, is one of the more than 300,000 people employed driving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the UK, and one of millions who do so around the globe.
According to data from Acumen Research and Consulting, the semi and fully autonomous truck market is expected to reach approximately $88bn (£64bn; €74bn) by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% between 2020 and 2027.
The technology, experts say, has the potential to revolutionise the $700bn (£500bn; €590bn) a year trucking industry that touches every corner of the global economy – creating new business opportunities and saving companies millions.
“It’s a huge opportunity. The biggest impact ATs (autonomous trucks) will have is cost savings and efficiency,” says Patrick Penfield, a professor of supply chain practice at Syracuse University in the US.
“The nice thing about ATs is that they’ll be able to operate 24 hours a day and drive a consistent mileage rate, making trucks safer and more fuel efficient.