Autonous freight is just around the corner as many believe it will be the first transportation sector to shift to autonomous control. That said, do not expect self-driving trucks to be cruising around cities just yet. An article from SupplyChain247 looking at the advent of autonomous freight describes the next step like this: “This is likely how driverless trucks will work at its infancy: At the city limit, …[a] computerized truck hands off to a human driver who navigates the city streets to the destination. A human driver will still touch every load.” Line hauls on the freeway will be autonomous, but this will connect to a transfer station where the an actual driver will climb onboard to make the final delivery, load new cargo, and bring the truck back out to the transfer spot.
Freeways will now need these transfer spots (modified truck stops?) and warehouses may have an even stronger incentive to move out beyond urban development to avoid the cost of the transfer, allowing trucks to come directly into the warehouse.