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The global autonomous trucks market size was USD 1,074.70 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 2,013.34 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.6% during the forecast period.
The rapid progress of sensor technology and software processing has enabled truck manufacturers to introduce varying levels of autonomy to the trucking sector. Autonomous trucks can enable fewer accidents and fatalities, increase operational efficiency for fleet owners (for example, reduced truck downtime), and reduce labor costs. Furthermore, a high share of greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollutants is attributed to heavy-duty trucks. Autonomous features such as platooning can enable reduced fuel consumption. These factors are driving the demand for self-driving trucks.
Impact of COVID-19: Delays in the Testing of Highly Automated Trucks to Hamper Market Growth
The coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown is expected to reduce the speed of adopting major trends such as autonomous vehicular operations and electric drives. Diminishing day-to-day cash flow is anticipated to create liquidity issues for several OEMs. Hence, investors and OEMs may be compelled to decrease funding for innovative solutions, for instance, testing of highly automated trucks (i.e., level 3 and level 4) may be suspended over the short- to mid-term.
For instance, Ford has delayed its plan to launch an autonomous vehicle service to 2022 owing to the impact of the pandemic as it reported a revenue drop of USD 2 billion in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a profit of USD 1.1 billion in the same quarter in 2019.
Additionally, several startups such as Plus.ai and Locomation play a vital role in the testing of autonomous-assisted freight runs and regularly partner with fleet owners to increase the commercial viability of such advanced trucks. However, a shortage of capital and a downturn in demand places pressure on such startups and severely affects their long-term sustainability.
Furthermore, the adoption of these trucks is dependent on the cost-reduction of sensor technologies deployed on these trucks. However, demand drop over the short term is expected to affect manufacturers’ ability to develop cost-effective LiDAR sensors, which are necessary to achieve full autonomy and are currently too expensive for widespread adoption among fleet carriers. However, a potential benefit of the pandemic for the market has increased demand for contactless goods delivery as companies may explore autonomous alternatives for distribution and delivery to customers.
Hence, delays in the testing of autonomous technologies and consolidation of smaller startups unable to maintain financial viability are likely to be the key impacts of COVID-19 on the market over the next two years.
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Increasing Adoption of Autonomous Trucks in Mining Operations to Boost the Market
In the Pilbara region in Western Australia, mining company Rio Tinto across its five mining locations has moved more than one billion tonnes of waste and iron ore material with the help of fully self-driving trucks. These trucks have proved to be more efficient than regular trucks as they can operate for 700 more hours than conventional trucks with load and haulage costs per unit reduced by around 15%. Furthermore, trucks equipped with autonomous haulage systems also provide considerable safety benefits as there have been zero road accidents with the trucks used by Rio Tinto.
Hence, the increased adoption of driverless trucks in mining operations is a positive trend influencing the growth of the market.
Growing Focus on Road Safety to Propel Demand for Autonomous Trucks
The adoption of advanced driver assistance technologies (ADAS) has significantly improved safety on highways, according to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in collaboration with trucking industry leaders. An example includes J.B. Hunt, a leading for-hire carrier in the US, which has equipped 98% of its vehicles with a forward-collision warning system and lane departure warning along with dash cameras on 84% of its class 8 trucks. The implementation of such technologies has enabled a 50% reduction in rear-end crashes and an increase in asset uptime and driver retention.
Furthermore, owing to the trucks’ safety benefits and increased demand from drivers, J.B. Hunt plans to deploy a blind spot detection system on its fleets that can help to avert sideswipes and lane change accidents. Hence, these factors are fueling the autonomous trucks market growth.
Reduced Emissions and Greater Fuel Efficiency of Automated Trucks to Augment Growth
Around 25% of the environmental pollution caused by the transportation sector in the US is attributed to trucking and fuel consumption accounts for nearly 25 to 40 percent of the total long-haul trucking costs in Europe and North America. Autonomous type of trucks via features such as low RPM runs, greater speed governance, automated manual transmissions, and aerodynamic platooning can improve long-haul fuel economy and directly lead to improved driving performance and emission reductions. Hence, improvement in fuel savings and pollution control is a major factor driving the adoption of driverless trucks.
Inconsistent Regulatory Framework to Restrain Growth
The American Transportation Research Institute published a study in January 2020 regarding the role of government authorities in automated trucking. The study indicated that the lack of a consistent federal regulatory framework had hindered the application of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in trucking as states have implemented fragmented policies that limit the use of these trucks to regional or local operations. Specifically, deployment in interstate commerce is hindered, which is the best potential use case for highly automated trucks owing to fewer obstacles and consistent speeds that can be achieved on long stretches of the interstate highways.
Hence, the slow development of federal guidance for autonomous trucking is expected to restrain the growth of the market.
Level 1 Segment Held the Largest Market Share Backed by Rising Fatalities Related to Large Trucks
By level of automation, the market is segmented into level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4 trucks. The level 1 segment held the largest share of the market in 2019. Demand for pickup trucks equipped with semi-autonomous driving features such as basic park assist and lane departure warning is increasing in the US. Furthermore, large truck-related fatalities have continued to increase, specifically in Europe, China, and India, which has necessitated the rise in the adoption of level 1 automated trucks. Hence, these factors are likely to lead to the augmented growth of this segment.
Testing of level 4 trucks on public roads, especially in the US and Germany, has increased considerably over the last few years. Additionally, several manufacturers such as Volvo, Navistar, and Ford are bypassing level 3 automation and are focused on developing level 4 driverless trucks. Hence, the level 4 segment is anticipated to show significant growth in the market over the forecast period.
Ultrasonic Sensor Segment Dominated the Market in 2019 Supported by Lower Costs
Based on sensor type, the market is segmented into ultrasonic, camera, radar, and LiDAR. The ultrasonic sensor segment held the largest share of the market in 2019. These sensors are significantly less expensive compared to other sensors and are extensively used for ADAS applications such as parking assistance owing to their accuracy in short-range object detection. These factors are responsible for the high share of this segment in the market.
The LiDAR sensor segment is anticipated to exhibit a higher CAGR. They provide superior range & speed detection of objects using reflected light instead of relying on brake lights. Their operation under low visibility conditions is also better compared to camera-based systems. These factors have encouraged trucking companies to adopt this technology.
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Electric Segment to Grow at a Faster Pace Attributed to Stringent Emission Regulations
Based on propulsion, the market is segmented into diesel, electric, and others. The electric truck segment is expected to show considerable growth in the market owing to the increasing stringency of emission regulations, particularly in the US and Europe. An example includes the Advanced Clean Truck Regulation adopted by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) in June 2020, the first of its kind in the US. The regulation increasingly limits the number of class 3 to 8 trucks that can be sold from 2024 onwards. Hence, the electric segment is anticipated to exhibit a higher CAGR over the forecast period.
Long-haul trucking will favor diesel trucks owing to the lesser battery range of electric trucks. Furthermore, based on current power density improvements and battery costs, the range improvement of electric trucks is expected to be slow over the next few years. Hence, the diesel truck segment is expected to dominate the market over the forecast period.
Heavy Duty Segment to Grow at a Fast Pace Fueled by Shortage of Drivers
Based on truck type, the market is segmented into the light-duty truck, medium-duty truck, and heavy-duty truck. The heavy-duty segment is anticipated to exhibit a high CAGR owing to the continued shortage of drivers, particularly in the US. For instance, a study conducted by the American Trucking Association in 2019 indicated a shortage of 60,800 drivers in 2018. Higher-level automated trucks can alleviate this driver shortage problem and considerably reduce the cost per mile of trucking by eliminating driver wages.
These factors are likely to fuel the growth of the heavy-duty segment over the forecast period.
The light-duty segment is expected to show considerable growth in the market owing to the increasing demand for self-driving utility vans and pickup trucks in commercial delivery operations, particularly in the US.
Increased Demand for BSD System Backed by the Growing Need to Avert Sideswipes and Reduce Accidents
Based on ADAS Features, the market is segmented into adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane keep assist (LKA), automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot detection (BSD), intelligent park assist (IPA), highway pilot (HP), and traffic jam assist (TJA).
The BSD segment is anticipated to exhibit a higher CAGR in the market owing to the increased adoption of radar-based BSD safety systems among fleet owners, especially in Europe and the US to avert accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. In 2022, a new regulation that mandates all new types of trucks to be equipped with the BSD system will come into force in Europe to enhance road safety, with nearly 20 pedestrians being fatally injured in Germany owing to right-turning trucks. These factors are propelling the growth of the BSD segment.
The highway pilot segment is also projected to show significant growth in the market. Testing of systems such as the Highway Pilot Connect developed by Daimler has demonstrated lower CO2 emissions and up to 7% reduction in fuel consumption. HP systems also reduce the required traffic space and increase the safety of networked trucks. These factors are propelling the growth of this segment.
North America Autonomous Truck Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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The market in North America is characterized by the presence of several startups such as Embark Trucks, Waymo, and TuSimple that have accelerated the adoption of highly automated trucks in freight operations. In 2019, the United Parcel Service (UPS) began using autonomous trucks by TuSimple to haul commercial cargo between Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona. Furthermore, in September 2019, Daimler in partnership with Torc Robotics started testing driverless trucks with level 4 autonomy on highways in Virginia, US. Hence, the availability of infrastructure and support by several states in the US in particular for autonomous vehicle testing is expected to lead to significant growth of the market in North America is expected.
Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit a high CAGR over the forecast period owing to increasing road safety norms by several countries and the rapid advancement of autonomous vehicles in Japan and China, particularly for last-mile delivery and mining trucks. Asia Pacific accounts for nearly 70% of trucks manufactured globally and a rise in the number of commercial vehicle-related fatalities, particularly in India and China, is increasing the demand for trucks equipped with advanced features such as lane departure warning systems and automatic emergency braking. Hence, these factors enabled the region to fasten its hold on the autonomous trucks market share.
The market in Europe is characterized by initiatives such as the EU-funded ENSEMBLE project that aims to implement multi-brand truck platooning (level 3 automation) in Europe over the next three years to improve traffic safety and fuel economy. Furthermore, the stringency of safety regulations is higher compared to other regions with Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and advanced emergency braking systems which is mandatory for all trucks in this region since 2015. These factors are propelling the growth of the market in Europe.
Daimler AG to Emerge as the Leading Player in the Market
Key players in the global market include Continental AG, AB Volvo, Daimler AG, and Caterpillar, among others. Daimler AG is expected to hold a large share of the market owing to several strategic partnerships and investment initiatives over the last two years, aimed at accelerating the series production of highly automated trucks. For instance, in March 2019, Daimler Trucks, a division of the company and a leading automated technology developer, acquired a majority stake in Torc Robotics, a self-driving vehicle company, to enhance R&D of level 4 software for these trucks.
Furthermore, Daimler Trucks established the Autonomous Technology Group (ATG) in June 2019 to increase the share of highly automated trucks over the next decade. The company announced an investment of more than USD 570 million for the ATG, with a focus on enhancing R&D, implementing automated driving strategies, and increasing infrastructure support for the cost-effective production of SAE level 4 trucks. Hence, these factors are expected to lead to a dominant share of Daimler AG in this market.
KEY INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS:
An Infographic Representation of Autonomous Truck Market
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The autonomous trucks market research report covers a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report delivers an in-depth market analysis of several factors that have contributed to its growth over recent years.
Value (USD Million) & Volume (Thousand Units)
By Level of Autonomy
By Sensor Type
By Truck Type
By ADAS Features
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size for autonomous trucks was USD 1,074.70 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 2,013.34 million by 2027.
In 2019, the North American market value stood at USD 475.66 million.
Registering a CAGR of 12.6%, the market will exhibit good growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).
The diesel segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
Greater emphasis on road safety is the key factor driving the growth of the market.
Daimler AG, TuSimple, and Caterpillar are the major players in the global market.
North America held the largest share in the market in 2019.
Driver shortage, particularly in the US, and the need to reduce operating costs such as a reduction in fuel consumption for heavy-duty trucks are driving the adoption of highly automated trucks.
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