Economic Impact of Self-driving Trucks

Trucks are the backbone of the supply-chain delivery system. 70% of goods are delivered by truck. The U.S. trucking industry generated $700.3 billion in economic activity in 2017.

Self-driving trucks will revolutionize logistics. It can bring down the cost by about 4 times and can increase the distance driven in a day by 2.5 times.

A self-driving truck would be able to deliver across the USA in 2 days instead of 5 days.

Self-driving trucks will arrive before self-driving taxis because highway driving automation is easier.

Waymo, Tesla, Volvo, Embark, TU Simple, Kodiak Robotics, Starsky and others are all competing to create self-driving trucks.

Embark is already using driver assistance to deliver from truck hub to truck hub. Human drivers drive from cities to the truck hubs and from truck hubs into cities.

There will be a 20-30% improvement in fuel efficiency and reduce wear on the truck.

Embark CEO is pitching that the human truckers will not be fully replaced for decades. The replacement of long-haul truck work will be a pure economic boom. There is currently a shortage of truck drivers. The reduced costs will increase the demand for local driving jobs. In theory, the 80% automation of trucking would provide the economic benefits of faster and vastly cheaper delivery while providing more of the better driving jobs.

Here is a CNBC video on self-driving trucks.

US Truck Statistics

280,000 trailers are sold per year
53.9 billion gallons of fuel are consumed yearly
671 billion in merchandise is shipped yearly
21.4 billion dollars in road usage and taxes are paid every year
432.9 billion miles are driven on U.S. highways, 139.3 by class 8 (tractor-trailers)
15.5 million trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers are on the road
8.9 million trucking employees, including, 3.5 million truck drivers
500,000 trucking companies operate in the U.S.

China Truck Statistics

29 million vehicles produced and sold by China’s automakers in 2017, approximately 25 million were passenger cars and four million were trucks and buses. Trucks made up almost 90% of commercial vehicles last year. In 2017, 1.1 million heavy-duty trucks and 229,113 medium-duty trucks were sold in China.

1.3 million medium and heavy-duty trucks that are now sold every year in China while over 300,000 Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks, and 70,000 Class 5 trucks are sold in the U.S. China’s truck market is more than three times than that of the U.S.

SOURCES- CNBC, Freight Trucking industry, Embark

Written By Brian Wang,