Transportation & Logistics International - Spring 2017 - 10

Technology Trends
Spring 2017

ize the safety and efficiency of transportation, particularly with wide implementation across the trucking industry.
Autonomous trucking brings many
benefits to both carriers and the general
public, and many transportation companies have already begun to explore
the possibility of adopting self-driving
trucks into their own fleets.
In October, media outlets nationwide covered the successful delivery of
50,000 Budweiser beers by a self-driving truck that drove 120 miles across
Colorado. This is in addition to another
autonomous trucking startup that
moved trailers around a major trucking
facility, just miles away from Chattanooga, Tenn. Autonomous trucking presents the opportunity to considerably
reduce accidents and traffic fatalities
by removing human error, the cause of
most traffic accidents. The utilization of
self-driving trucks also allows drivers
to rest in the cab, reducing the amount
of time a truck must be stopped, and
ultimately making routes faster.
While many may fear a declining
need for drivers as autonomous trucking becomes widely used, a complete
loss of jobs is not anticipated. Instead, the roles undertaken by drivers
and the types of in-demand jobs will
change. There will be transitionary
period where drivers will still need to
supervise autonomous vehicles from
inside, but ultimately, from distributed command stations. Autonomous
trucking also will create a demand for
workers in other positions. Drivers can
be retrained as machinists, robotics
support staff, and for other higher-order
functions, including sales. These new
roles for drivers will likely attract young
talent to the industry, growing the
transportation workforce overall.
Of course, the technology behind
autonomous trucking is not free of
kinks, which is why intensive research

10

TLIMAGAZINE.COM SPRING 2017

and development is ongoing- spurring
constant advancements in the industry.
Much like the trusted airplane autopilot,
autonomous trucking will only improve
with greater use, particularly with the
insights of actual drivers providing input on where the technology falls short.
Due to the rapid R&D currently underway regarding autonomous vehicles, it's
likely that autonomous trucks will be
hauling freight in the next 10 to 15 years.

"Autonomous trucking
also will create a demand for workers in
other positions. Drivers
can be retained as machinists, robotics support staff, and for other
higher-order functions."
2. Shared Economy Concept
Extends to Logistics and Will
Impact Last Mile Delivery
Last mile delivery has long been a strain
on logistics providers, who often lose
money on its implementation. Now,
tech startups are utilizing new avenues, including the sharing economy, to
make last mile delivery convenient and
profitable, as evidenced by the many
Uber-like startups dedicated to solving
the last-mile problem popping up globally. Companies like Skydrop provide
businesses with capacity to deliver
goods to their customers. These new
developments open the door to decrease
last-mile transportation costs to drive
superior customer experiences that
increase revenues and profit-turning.
Innovations in last mile delivery
will be especially critical in suburban

areas, where service is most needed
due to the current absence of last mile
delivery services. However, positive
unit economics might not occur until
full autonomy is gained, which is being
delayed less and less by technological
capabilities and more so by regulatory
issues. Regulation must be clearer and
will require providers and policymakers
to continue to come together to work
towards a solution. Stakeholders can
educate and inform legislators and the
public, thereby rallying support for new
regulations that fit the modern tech
economy. Policymakers, then, must
show a willingness to update outdated
statutes. The logistics industry should
look to companies in other industries
that have faced similar regulatory obstructions, like AirBnB, for examples on
how to engage with local legislators.
3. New Players in the Market Will
Make Warehousing More Nimble
New technologies are transforming
warehousing, creating a more flexible
customer experience. SaaS platforms
for pricing and premiums for high
demand storage space are creating a
warehousing industry that caters to
the exact needs of customers. Expect to
see an emergence of newcomers to the
industry that will provide bespoke space
with improved pricing, and these agile
players will lead the way in warehousing
that truly molds to customers' needs.
We've seen interesting business models
and value propositions from the likes of
DarkStore, Flexe and Stord.
Tech will revolutionize not just the
customer experience, but the warehouse floor as well. Demand is growing
for a comprehensive IoT playground
across warehousing. A broad Internet
of Things structure allows warehouse
managers to easily organize and protect
warehouses, while making shipping
quicker. Modern warehouses are al-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Transportation & Logistics International - Spring 2017

Table Of Contents
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Transportation & Logistics International - Spring 2017 - Cover3
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