More Automation Means More Gains
Right now we live in transformational times. And new tech leads the way.
This kind of change has happened many times in the past, and we’ve given these eras many different names.
The Bronze Age, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution…
And most recently, we’ve had the Information Age, where we shifted from products made by the Industrial Revolution to digital products fueled by computers.
So many world-changing technologies are at the brink of full deployment right now.
Today we’re going to discuss one of those technologies and show how you can benefit from this deployment.
The Automation of the Shipping Industry
Recently Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) came out and confirmed the production of an autonomous semi-truck.
And the confirmation alone got investors excited enough to make the stock shoot to new levels even though Tesla production hasn’t even started.
In terms of what the final product will be, all we have to go on right now is speculation.
But we can also speculate on the effects autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have on the shipping industry as a whole. And what needs to happen for it become the norm.
According to the U.S. Census there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States.
Their jobs, though, are safe for now.
The steps to get to fully autonomous are as follows:
- Level 1: Driver Assistance — One function like cruise control, lane assistance, etc.
- Level 2: Partial Automation — Braking and acceleration are automated, with the driver ready to take control at any time
- Level 3: Conditional Automation — Driver assists only in non-normal events like poor visibility during rainstorms or navigating through tight urban streets
- Level 4: High Automation — Driver is present in vehicle and only intervenes in emergencies
- Level 5: Full Automation — Driver not present, vehicle expected to perform as good as if not better than a driver would.
Currently, Tesla is expected to deliver prototypes that would fit the Level 2 criterion of function.
To get to Level 3, there are several hurdles we have to pass both in technology and as a society.
First off, the technology just isn’t there yet.
Currently, it’s expected that nationwide 5G deployment will be needed to get autonomous vehicles off the ground.
But the situation currently is a Catch-22. 5G providers don’t want to sink money into a nationwide 5G network because it’s extremely expensive and the demand isn’t there for it yet. Car companies don’t want to develop an autonomous vehicle that relies on 5G technology when there’s nothing deployed.
In the same light, battery technology is currently at a point to where a semi would have to stop frequently more than it would with a purely diesel engine. But it’s rumored that Tesla is set to reveal a million-mile battery that could solve all of these issues. We wait and see what that may be.
The other factors are purely human.
Ask yourself this: “Would you want a robot to drive on the road with your kid?”
A recent poll by Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) found that nearly 75% of Americans believe autonomous vehicles are “not ready for prime time.”
Furthermore 48% of Americans say they “would never get in a taxi or ride-share vehicle that was being driven autonomously.” And 20% of believe AVs will never be safe.
That’s a staggering number, but I believe this attitude will change as people become more accustomed to AV technology.
For instance, the same study from PAVE found that Americans were overwhelmingly in favor of technologies that assisted driving.
And they had a significantly positive response to the idea of “a vehicle with safety systems that support a human driver, but with the human driver always in full control” as opposed to a “self-driving car,” “autonomous vehicle” or “driverless car.”
Where Do We Go From Here?
Automation of the shipping industry doesn’t just stop at trucking.
Plenty of other forms of shipping can benefit from autonomous deployment.
Already, autonomous locomotives have been tested with success in the Colorado desert. And while it may be a long way away from full automation of that industry, anti-collision technology could be used to be able to prevent previously fatal crashes.
There are a lot of things that need to be done both from tech and societal perspectives…
But when we do finally get there and everything lines up, these trends will drive huge wealth creation.
To a bright future,