Trucking costs are expected to drop by almost half in the next 12 years by digitizing the process, according to a report by PWC.
The Era of Digitized Trucking report lays out a futuristic model for digitizing the way logistics operations perform their duties. The study envisions the disappearance of long distance truck drivers and freight-forwarding companies to be replaced by a fully automated end-to-end supply chain centered around a system of robots, a computerized freight-matching system, and drone and automated delivery.
“This fully automated model would mean shorter waiting times for delivery — hence our estimated 40 percent fall in lead times by 2030 — and less inventory stored in warehouses. There will also be fewer loading and other types of errors,” read the report.
Such integrated supply chain models are already being developed by RIO, a cloud-based platform owned by Volkswagen; FR8Star, a U.S. platform co-owned by Volkswagen; and Velocity Vehicle Group, a large trucking dealership in the U.S.
The report also estimates trucking logistics costs will fall by 47% by 2030, largely through reduction of labor (about 80%).
“Delivery is carried out by a fully automated, driverless, cabless truck. The trucks will be linked together in convoys in a concept known as “platooning,” and remote diagnostics will identify and address problems before they become serious and costly.”
The last leg of a delivery will involve drones and droids to deliver some goods in smaller rural areas.
In cities and towns large autonomous trucks will “not be suitable for crowded urban environments, and automating smaller trucks doesn’t make sense because a driver/operator is needed to make the final delivery.”
The writers of the report estimate costs in this segment will be 51% lower by 2030.
The report also estimates by eliminating the cab and driver of a truck, more time will be spent making deliveries rather than on rest for the driver.
“By 2030, we estimate driving time will increase to 131 hours and the idle time will fall to 15 hours,” stated the report.
For original equipment manufacturers (OEM), one business model option is for them to adopt the Mobility As A Service (MaaS) role, with fleets of trucks positioned throughout major global regions.
In this scenario, an autonomous truck can be summoned with a signal that starts the vehicle and sends it to the right warehouse to collect a parcel or a trailer.
Alternatively, the truck is already on the road and gets redirected to a new loading address in order to pick up additional goods.

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