Many of the “concerns” about a patchwork approach developing nationwide are premature. States are engaging with this technology for the first time, and may be initially stumped—it’s usually just the result of simple bureaucracy. Ultimately, the States that allow more advanced deployments will learn valuable lessons that can be shared nationwide. This is why deployments like the recent Smart Belt Coalition effort and the upcoming USDOT efforts, which include dozens of States, are vital.
So what’s the timing for fully-autonomous trucking? While State and Federal regulations are set to move with the pace of technology (for now), realistically, we may be closer to a decade away from the technological development of true widespread autonomous trucking.
As crazy as it may sound, if the current pace continues then the government (and regulations) may actually move at the pace of technology. In the meantime, human-centric approaches like platooning and convoying will continue to flourish.