Driverless trucks are here because no one wants to drive trucks anymore
Trucks are latest vehicle to get the driverless treatment in Singapore.
12 driverless trucks will soon be tested in the country, with the first run due to take place from September.
If the trial proves successful, 11 more trucks will be added.
Belgian logistics group Katoen Natie will be working with Dutch technology company VDL to install the autonomous brains and eyes of the trucks.
According to Katoen Natie, the retrofitting of the trucks will cost up to $142,000 each — more than the cost of the vehicle itself.
The trial is set to roll out in three phases.
In the first phase, the trucks will be tested on Jurong Island, one of Singapore’s artificial islands, and will be guided by transponders in the road.
The second phase will see the trucks guided by satellite technology on Jurong Island, and in the last phase, the trucks will be set to hit public roads.
“Young people have no desire to become truck drivers.”
The need for these pricey autonomous trucks is because fewer people are signing up to become truck drivers, apparently.
“Truck drivers are hard to find in Singapore. Most of them are over 50 years old and young people have no desire to become truck drivers,” chief executive of Katoen Natie, Koen Cardon told The Straits Times.
However, he added that existing drivers would not be made redundant, adding that they would instead be “assigned” to other job functions.
The trucks will be manned initially for the first three to four months of the project, but the company plans for them to be made driverless shortly after.
So don’t be alarmed if you see trucks zipping past you without someone at the wheel soon — it could happen sooner than you think.
Mashable has reached out to Katoen Natie for more.