what’s-going-on-with-autonomous-trucking?

October’s issue includes our annual 20 Questions feature. You can find this and 19 other questions–and answers–there.While Tesla expects to have its sleek, mold-breaking Autopilot-equipped Semi on the road by the end of 2021, you might be surprised to learn that automated freight trucks are already among us, if more traditionally styled.

California startup Plus.ai delivered 20 tons of Land O’Lakes butter from Tulare, California, to Quakertown, Pennsylvania, in a highly automated truck last December. Also last year, UPS took a minority stake in autonomous trucking startup TuSimple and launched a pilot program that saved the company 10 percent in fuel costs compared with running the same route without this tech. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company says that full autonomy could save the U.S. trucking industry between $80 billion and $125 billion in overall operating costs. Included in that are the salaries of roughly 3.5 million people working as truck drivers in the U.S., who would be out of a job. Don’t worry (yet); all these automated trucks currently have minders in the cabin to make sure they don’t go Maximum Overdrive on us.More 20 Questions
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