Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car division, is working on developing self-driving trucks.
The company behind Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) expects autonomous vehicle technology to make a big impact on the long distance trucking industry over the next several years. Companies would still likely use actual drivers for local pickup and deliveries, and then just rely on self-driving trucks for the long-distance parts of each shipment.
Waymo isn’t the first brand to start working on autonomous trucking either. Uber’s self-driving car division, Otto, has already sent a self-driving truck on a 120-mile test drive in a partnership with Budweiser.
This, of course, could have a major impact on small businesses in a number of ways.
Does Your Small Business Need a Waymo Self-driving Truck?
Though self-driving cars are still viewed skeptically, this technology is certainly something that small trucking companies should keep an eye on.
Self-driving trucks could help trucking firms lower labor costs. And they could also make transportation more efficient if companies no longer have to deal with things like driver breaks and schedules.
Those lower costs could potentially level the playing field for small businesses that are able to innovate and adapt to the technology quickly. But if the upfront investment is too high, it could also provide an even larger advantage to big companies able to afford the upfront cost in order to enjoy the savings afterward.
And it’s not just trucking companies that could see an impact from this technology. Any company that ships products could potentially enjoy cost savings benefits from self-driving trucks.
But that all depends on how quickly trucking firms are able to adapt to the technology. And if the self-driving car market to this point is any indication, the future is uncertain at best.