The problem with delivering goods cross-country by trucks is that humans are involved. Humans get tired and thus need to make stops and rest. Being pressured to meet certain deadlines also does not help as it means that drivers could get careless, which in turn could result in accidents, none of which are ideal.
This is where autonomous vehicles might come in handy, where due to the lack of a need for human drivers, it could basically travel all day and all night, only stopping to refuel. In fact, Plus.ai have announced that they have successfully tested this out with a truck that delivered butter from Tulare, California to Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
This a 2,800 mile journey which the truck completed in under 3 days, where it managed to deliver 40,000 pounds of butter. The truck drove itself but had a safety driver on board ready to take over in the event something went wrong, along with a safety engineer who observed how the entire journey went.
According to the company’s co-founder and COO Shawn Kerrigan, he claims that the truck had zero disengagements, which basically means that at no point in time did the self-driving system needed to be taken over by the human driver. While it could still be a few years before we start seeing self-driving trucks populate our roads, this test does show that it is feasible.