Automation won’t replace drivers, but complement them.
Peterbilt Motors Co. Automation won’t replace drivers, but complement them.

Over the next two decades, three rapidly evolving technologies will immensely impact how Americans travel and, in turn, how transportation departments provide mobility: connectedness, big data, and automation. All three will impact operations and budgets, and managers must be nimble.

Big data is the result of connectedness. Every time we visit the Internet or use our smartphones, huge amounts of data are generated and analyzed regarding our behavior. Location reports monitor the millions of smartphones moving along in vehicles. Companies use this data to provide real-time speed maps of the entire U.S. road system, as well as to identify accidents and other incidents on the road.

While historically slower to evolve and impact transportation than communication technology, improvements like electronic stability control and anti-lock braking have significantly improved driver safety. The next generation of automation is coming of age as car makers test vehicles that drive themselves under certain conditions, such as in stop-and-go congestion and on freeways.

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