Researchers study the impact of automation on trucking industry

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Researchers from the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University recently released a report detailing how automated truck technology could potentially impact the long-haul trucking market.

Long-haul trucking covers more than 150 miles. Several companies are developing automation for long-haul trucking.

The researchers discovered that up to 94 percent of operator hours could be impacted if automated trucking technology improves to operate in all weather conditions.

“Our results suggest that the impacts of automation may not happen all at once,” Parth Vaishnav, study co-author and assistant professor of sustainable systems at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, said. “If automation is restricted to Sun Belt states (including Florida, Texas, and Arizona) – because the technology may not initially work well in rough weather – about 10 percent of the operator hours will be affected.”

Automation is an option for trucking companies trying to save money, as labor accounts for about two-fifths of the cost of trucking, but this could lead to job losses.

Short-haul driving jobs could increase due to automation, but these jobs typically pay less than long-haul positions and could create the potential for reduced livelihoods for workers.

Short-haul driving involves shipments within a 150-mile radius.