Movement of Goods with AVs

The Challenge

Trucking accounts for over 70% of the movement of goods in the US alone, comprising a $726 billion market, yet it is highly volatile in pricing and capacity and dependent on offline practices, impacting many of the day-to-day transactions that consumers depend on. Autonomous driving technologies are developing rapidly in the heavy truck industry, and some claim these will be commercialized sooner than passenger mobility due to the clear economic incentive for their commercialization. AV technologies make business sense for heavy trucks: risks of accidents can be minimized, fuel consumption can be reduced significantly,and human driver constraints can be removed.A driver in the US can drive up to 11 hours a day after 10 consecutive hours off duty and 70 hours a week at maximum, which makes the truck not in use half of the time. Operational costs of the trucking industry are increasing at a 6%rate annually. In 2016, 388K heavy trucks involved in property damage, 145K people injured in those crashes and 4,761 fatalities occurred. Pollution by the transportation accounted for 27%of total US emissions in 2015, of which 23%accounted for the movement of goods.

The Opportunity 

Level 4 autonomy can secure a sustainable movement of goods: it can eliminate human error which causes 94- 96%of total crashes, double utilization rate by enabling the trucks becoming operational 24 hours a day, and reduce emissions by 8-16% with Platooning. However, some key issues call for clarity before the vision for a safer, more efficient,and therefore more sustainable movement of on-road goods could be realized. Also, it is likely that different contexts (institutional structures, driving habits etc.) may require different approaches, for example between the US, the EU, and Asia. This project will aim to identify under what circumstances will we need harmonized dedicated lanes,charging infrastructure,digitized data exchanges (road signs), 5G and HD mapping, and dedicated hubs throughout our highways for ensuring sustainable non-urban movement of goods.


  • Shed light on the potential impacts of different right of way structures, communication types (V2X, V2V) etc. for context of highway movement of goods.

  • Enhance consensus across stakeholders and geographies for driving acceptability of AV movement of goods.

  • Showcase the value of public-private collaboration on data sharing for the commercialization of AV movement of goods.

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