After a century of planes, trains and automobiles, our world is on the verge of a transportation revolution. Electric vehicles have begun driving themselves. Taxis will be flying through the air in the next decade. Hyperloop pods promise the frequency of subways with the speed of aircraft, while starships are aiming to rocket you anywhere on Earth in less than an hour. Virtually every industry you can think of will be disrupted – particularly those whose lifeblood depends on travel (wink wink).
This past December, an autonomous truck equipped with an impressive sensor suite, deep learning algorithms, and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technologies became the first-ever to complete a cross-country driverless trek in the U.S. Its precious cargo? 40,000 pounds of Land O’Lakes butter. Half a world away, visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, can ride in a car that navigates its own way through the parking garage before being sent off to park by itself.
It’s finally happening. After years of test runs in cities like Phoenix and Pittsburgh, autonomous vehicles are being unleashed onto our roadways. Now that California – the Land of a Million Regulations – has given the green light to autonomous light-duty commercial trucks on public roads, it’s clear that self-driving vehicles have turned a corner.