IRU: autonomous trucks here in a decade?

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) has published research suggesting that more than 76% of road transport companies worldwide believe that autonomous trucks will be a viable option on the roads within the next 10 years.

The IRU survey had responses from 450 transport companies from the Arabian Gulf, Asia and Europe.

Of the road transport companies that believe automation is coming soon, 29% believed that they will be a reality within five years. “For technology to take hold, and for the industry to truly benefit from it, we must ensure we have the foundations in place,” said IRU secretary general Umberto de Pretto.

“This means first getting the basics right, such as full transitioning to digital documentation, improving traceability, security and efficiency. We must work harder to join the dots between operators, service providers, manufacturers and governments to nurture a supportive environment for innovation and digitisation.”

The survey by the IRU also found that geo-political uncertainty is the biggest threat to their development, but technology and innovation is key to overcoming the challenges.

Pretto said: “The global transport system touches the lives of each of the planet’s seven billion people, from the food we eat to the consumer goods we buy. So it’s perhaps not surprising that many of the issues facing society today are also considered by transport companies to be their biggest challenges. These include some of the main themes that dominate the international agenda, including geopolitics, trade and the environment.”