Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology has the potential to transform how people and goods move through the world. Personal autonomous cars get most of the media attention, but long-haul trucks actually offer one of the most appealing use cases for full self-driving vehicles. A critical factor is the ability of AV providers and fleet operators to identify the most appropriate routes on which to trial and ultimately operate their autonomous commercial vehicles.
In early 2022, BCG collaborated with Kodiak, one of the leading players in autonomous trucking, to identify the most promising routes between major metropolitan areas (MAs) in the continental United States. BCG’s data analytics group BCG GAMMA developed an interactive dashboard that applies a prioritization algorithm to define optimal routes according to filters chosen by the user.
In this article, we explain how Kodiak used the tool to validate strategic decisions and guide its expansion plans. We also invite readers to experiment with the tool to generate custom maps of ranked routes well-suited for autonomous trucking.
The Business Benefits and Technical Advantages of Autonomous Trucks
A key aspect of the artificial intelligence (AI) technology behind autonomous vehicles is that it tends to have an easier time handling traffic situations that occur frequently. This makes it well-suited for interstate highways, which are built to the same general standards and typically have fewer obstacles and hazards, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and children at play that could befuddle an AV navigating an urban or suburban street. Autonomous vehicles also tend to perform better on highways due to the fact that the other vehicles around them are moving in the same direction and within a narrow band of speeds, with oncoming traffic separated by a clearly defined median barrier.