But those labor savings aren't the only gains to be had from the adoption of driverless trucks. Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost. And the savings become even more significant when you account for fuel efficiency gains. The optimal cruising speed from a fuel efficiency standpoint is around 45 miles per hour, whereas truckers who are paid by the mile drive much faster.
Vivify Trucks will revolutionize the trucking industry by making trucks smarter, efficient and safer on roads. To achieve this we are developing a kit that can be installed on about any truck and will be able to control and drive the truck autonomously and perform operations with little or no assistance from driver. Our kit and technology would be designed to withstand and work in bad weather including strong winds, rain, snow and fog etc. We have been hard at work finding autonomous solutions to these common issues faced by truck companies and drivers. Human drivers will still retain override control of the vehicle, but the precision of our onboard artificial intelligence's driving makes trucks equipped with our kits much safer on the road than trucks with only conventional, human drivers.
Volvo Trucks, a separate entity to Volvo Cars, has rolled out a truck concept that could lead to much lower costs for the delivery of goods. The Swedish firm's concept is said to use 30 percent less fuel than a comparable truck currently in operation thanks to its aerodynamic design and lower curb weight. The concept is based on Volvo's FH 420 truck that uses a turbocharged 12.9-liter inline-6 diesel engine. Some of the solutions to improve aerodynamics include replacing the side mirrors with rear-facing cameras, covering up the wheels and adding a more streamlined section at the rear. Combined, these modifications help improve aerodynamic efficiency by as much as 40 percent.
For all the talk about self-driving cars, it was a self-driving truck that may drive us a little faster into the future. This week, a big rig, carrying 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer, made a shipment in Colorado with no driver at the wheel. Anheuser-Busch calls it the world's first commercial delivery by a self-driving truck. Farhad Manjoo is a technology columnist for The New York Times, and he's also been in a driver-free truck. SIMON: What's it like to be in one of these trucks?