Truckers likely to take on co-pilot role in autonomous vehicles, Navistar predicts

Progress continues to be made on technologies like platooning and legislation regarding self-driving vehicles.
Progress continues to be made on technologies like platooning and legislation regarding self-driving vehicles. | File photo

Technology will lead to truck drivers increasingly taking on a co-pilot role, allowing them to handle other tasks while on the road, according to Navistar, a leading truck manufacturer.

Advances in the development of autonomous vehicles clearly will be seen over the next year, predicts Navistar, which builds commercial trucks, buses and defense vehicles. It is also manufacturing autonomous trucks.

"In 2018, the increasing availability of data from connected vehicles will accelerate the evolution of the driver’s role to a 'co-pilot,' handling more complex decision making and managing multiple vehicle assets for optimized safety and efficiency," Jeff Sass, Navistar's senior vice president of North America truck sales and marketing, told Mega Dealer News.

"Safety technologies already on the road today, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, will serve as stepping stones in 2018 on the path to fully autonomous vehicles," he said.

Ahead of the new year, the company issued its predictions for 2018. A Navistar release said progress continues to be made on technologies like platooning and legislation regarding self-driving vehicles.

The company envisions even more innovation and progress in a number of key areas. Making electrification a reality is one, it said in the release.

Already, electric vehicles are on the road. As the technology is implemented, Navistar predicts "a hub-and-spoke system" where heavy loads are carried on our nation’s highway systems with diesel-powered trucks. But then they would be broken down into smaller loads for urban delivery using electric vehicles."

On autonomous technology, Navistar believes vehicle-to-vehicle communication will lead to a “co-pilot” approach. This will help drivers streamline routine tasks and allowing them to focus on more complex decision making, the company predicts.

"Connected-vehicle technologies bring together data that improves decision-making," the company said. "As more data becomes available, there are more opportunities to use it to solve a variety of issues, including driver support, logistics enhancements and optimization of vehicle selection."

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Navistar International Corporation 2701 Navistar Dr Lisle, IL 60532