Last year Rio Tinto, the multinational miner with head offices in Australia and the UK, rolled out fully automated driverless truck fleets at two of its iron ore mines in the Pilbara Western Australia, in what it said was a world first. Recently a convoy of self-driving trucks drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. While robot replacement of human labour is still being discussed, it’s already happening with driverless trucks. With labor representing an estimated 75 percent of trucking costs the cost savings are potentially huge. While drivers are restricted by law from driving more than set hours per day without a break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. It’s been estimated that the technology could double the output of a transportation network at 25 percent of the cost. And the savings become even more significant fuel efficiency gains are included. In times of low growth these productivity gains are particularly significant.
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