Could automation triple productivity and speed of freight movement?

US transport economist Noël Perry shares his vision of a fully autonomous trucking industry that could rewrite the country's transport and trade policy. By Megan Lampinen

Just like so many other developed economies, the US relies heavily on commercial trucks, which serve as a lifeline between producers and consumers. Trucking shifts 71% of all overland freight across the country and the industry was worth was estimated US$700bn in 2017, according to American Trucking Trends 2018, a report published by American Trucking Associations. That’s more than the yearly GDP of some countries. But change is coming in the form of digitisation, automation and artificial intelligence (AI), which could facilitate a radical reinvention of freight movement. For transport economist Noël Perry, a Principle at market research consultancy Transport Futures, “This represents the biggest change since the invention of the super highway.”…

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