Danish Trucking Company Is Ready For Self Driving Trucks

Headquartered in Denmark, DSV is the fourth largest freight forwarding company in the world. All told, it has more than 20,000 trucks on the road worldwide. Combined, they rack up more than 1.2 billion miles a year. Last year, DSV bought U.S. rival UTi Worldwide Inc. for $1.35 billion.

Self driving truck of the future

Jens Bjoern Andersen is the CEO of DSV. His daily driver is a Tesla Model S. He is a big fan of self driving technology. “Sometimes, when I drive home from work, I go most of the way almost without touching the brake or the gas and I only need to hold my hands on the steering wheel because the law says I must. But the technology is already there.”

Andersen is looking forward to the opportunities that self driving trucks will create. “All we need is the regulatory steps and perhaps a fine tuning of the technology,” he says. Self driving trucks are an opportunity for the logistics business because they will help lower the costs of operating the vehicles due to their superior fuel efficiency. “If it then becomes cheaper, it will be good for our clients and we will do what we can to protect the margins we have,” he says.

He doesn’t see the self driving trucks as a threat to workers. “Fully self driving trucks that also handle the distribution stage in big cities like Paris, London or Copenhagen, are many years away,” he said. “On the last stage of the distribution, you need to bring goods in and out of the truck all the time. You have the city traffic, the cyclists and all that, so you really need a human there.”

“You need people who handle the goods, who consolidate the packaging, who utilize the truck capacity, who fill out customs forms, who advise clients,” he adds. “All this won’t change just because there’s no longer a driver behind the wheel.”

Andersen believes the first step will probably be to allow self-driving trucks on highways, possibly in a lane reserved for other autonomous vehicles. It will probably take a lot longer before the technology is used in cities, he said. He expects long haul heavy duty trucks that can drive themselves to be on the road within 5 to 10 years. His company could be one of the first customers for the Telsa Semi with advanced Autopilot technology.

Source: Bloomberg

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.