Throughout human civilisation there’s been a need to transport freight. This has evolved over time as new technologies were introduced and widely adopted.
The freight task for the pyramids was powered by humans, elephants got Hannibal over the Alps, while the horse and cart kept freight moving until the discovery of steam as a source of power. The invention of the internal combustion engine then led to the emergence of diesel powered trucks as the dominant mode of transport in the twentieth century.
In Dubai and the wider UAE, adoption of modern vehicles was somewhat behind the western world. In fact prior to the 1970's Dubai had very few cars and even fewer roads. Dubai was linked to Ras al Khaimah by a single carriageway tarmac road, and driving conditions could be extremely hazardous, with a large population of camels wandering freely.
The connection to Abu Dhabi was an entirely different proposition; There was no road and only four-wheel drives, trucks and taxis used sand tracks along the beachline to travel between the two cities.
However, from it's somewhat late start, the UAE has made unprecedented progress in developing it's roads and transportation infrastructure, and now represents one of the most modern locations in the world.
In recent years, digital technologies have made an appearance on the transport scene. It’s not unusual to see robots operating in warehouses, while digital is displacing paper for maps and route planning. In addition, Telematics is helping fleets to become to achieve greater efficiency, improved safety and lower carbon emissions.
But, for the most part, digital automation technologies have had a limited impact on road freight transport. That is until now. We’re nearing a momentous point in the history of transport with a new breed of intelligent machines on the verge of powering and piloting the freight task.
The UAE may become one of the frontrunners regarding the technology and infrastructure required to support the implementation of autonomous vehicles and fleets. The Gulf region is young and tech-savvy, with a desire to make set ambitious goals and achieve them.
Our partner, Teletrac Navman, recently commissioned ACA Research to assess intention to adopt within the Australian road freight transport industry. We have developed a white paper covering a case study based on these reults and a wider discussion around the concept of autonomous trucks. Read it here: