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Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work: Autonomous Trucking Represents a Canary in the Coal Mine for Other Industries

Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work recently published the whitepaper, No Hands: The Autonomous Future of Trucking. The paper examines the implications of this new mode of shipping and how, in many respects, the future of autonomous trucking in the U.S. is the future of work, posing some of the biggest and most important business, technological, societal and ethical questions surrounding the world of automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI).

In many respects, autonomous trucking represents a canary-in-the-coal-mine for jobs in other industries, posing a good opportunity for business leaders, technology strategists and public policy proponents to assess how to successfully manage the transition. To help leaders navigate the road ahead, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work set out to study the factors enabling autonomous vehicle technology in the long-haul trucking sector and the impact its deployment will have. The Center has identified the following key insights for organizations in the path of trucking automation to consider:

  • Full implementation of automation technology in trucking could reduce operating costs and double productivity.
  • The future has arrived for autonomous driving with contracts already secured to move freight using the technology.
  • The jury is out on how many will be sent to the unemployment line.
  • Alignment is urgently needed for state, local and federal policies, standards and regulations.
  • Autonomous truck hacking is a matter of national security.

“Self-driving vehicle technology does not exist in a vacuum,” writes Desmond Dickerson, Senior Consultant, Retail. “Other technologies, industries, regulatory bodies and consumer preferences will all play roles in how the trucking industry evolves. Leaders must take into account the interplay of all these factors when assessing their strategies. Buckle up for the autonomous road ahead.”

The report takes a clear-eyed view, weighing the gains in efficiency and anticipating the hazards ahead related to employment and safety. Consider it a primer for policy makers looking to make sense of it all while illuminating a strategic set of ethical guardrails for innovators racing to commercialize the technology.

Click here to read the full report.