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Driving Automation: Commercial Transportation’s Pursuit of Level 4 Autonomy

Autonomous Commercial Vehicles & Transportation


How will autonomous commercial vehicle technology be adopted, where, and when? These are questions the entire market is asking; most have theories and guesses, but what does the math say?

With numerous technology application options and a lack of mass adoption, the answer to these questions is a credible, third-party economic model that outlines the future of autonomous trucking. That’s why ACT Research, a trusted leader in market data, forecasting, and total-cost-of-ownership development for the commercial vehicle market, has developed DRIVING AUTOMATION, a report aggregating relevant market information, diving deep into autonomous models, and presenting a technology adoption rate forecast over a 20-year horizon.

The Pursuit of Level 4 Autonomy

There is a gap in the autonomous commercial vehicle market. A lack of industry-wide understanding, standardization, and aggregation of autonomous commercial vehicle technology resources often leads to more questions than answers.

What will be the impact on Class 8 tractor demand?

Class 8 tractors are the literal drivers of freight. The value of autonomy is in creating greater efficiency. But what will greater efficiency mean for Class 8 tractor demand and the replacement cycle, the backbone of the market for decades? Not only is ACT the leader in forecasting Class 8 demand, but it understands the replacement cycle and rate of driver utilization in a unique way.

What will be autonomous trucking’s impact on the driver?

Consumer demand leads to freight which leads to drivers. Understanding the truckload cycle, the ebb and flow of consumer demand and it’s impact on trucking and drivers, is core to seeing how autonomous technology will impact drivers in the long term.

When and how will the market adopt this technology?

Starting with our trusted Class 8 demand forecast, we’ve engaged in hundreds of discussions with truck OEMs, autonomous technology suppliers, regulators, legacy Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, leasing/asset carriers, logistic brokers, and fleets, all providing data points and insights to refine our models, not just for forecasting autonomous commercial vehicles, but adoption rate by application type.

Like most companies, you have more questions than answers. That’s why ACT Research has developed DRIVING AUTOMATION, a multi-client autonomous commercial vehicle adoption rate report: a one-stop resource combining first-hand industry knowledge of autonomous commercial vehicle market leaders, regulators, and fleets with ACT’s expertise in analysis and forecasting to provide a first-of-its-kind business tool.

With numerous technology applications and a current lack of mass adoption, the path to understanding the autonomous technology horizon is clear: bottoms-up economic modeling. ACT Research, the gold standard in market data, forecasting, and total cost-of-ownership development for the commercial vehicle market, has developed DRIVING AUTOMATION, a report and Excel models aggregating relevant market information, diving deep into autonomous applications, and presenting a technology adoption rate forecast over a 20-year horizon.

I would recommend ACT Research to anyone that’s looking for in-depth insight into what’s happening in the commercial vehicle markets. The expertise and knowledge that goes into the service they provide, there’s not a better solution, in my opinion, for commercial vehicle data than ACT Research.”

Jeff Trent

Marketing Manager, Mahle

The Future of Transportation

The report’s scope focuses on 10 areas: a market overview; Class 8 tractor forecast impact; total available market (TAM); ACV landscape aggregating: technologies, companies, alliances, business models, second life, and more; as well as regulations and infrastructure considerations; labor and driver impact;ACV standards; liability and insurance; vehicle total cost-of-ownership (TCO); autonomous models’ impact; and autonomous forecasts. The report deliverables will include a written analysis document, Excel TCO models complete with base, high-end, and low-end adoption scenarios, and an executive summary PowerPoint document.

Total Available Market – Utilize ACT’s propriety Cl4-8 population model and award-winning economic analysis so you can understand the revenue opportunity available and prioritize your business opportunities. For more than 35 years, ACT Research has been collecting Cl4-8 production data from the North American OEMs. With this data, we’ve developed a population model using a stock-replacement structure to determine the population required to meet economic activity. There are two pieces to the conclusion of the model:

  1. The number of trucks that need to be replaced and the change in population required to meet the new level of economic activity.
  2. Next, utilizing regulations, major freight corridors, and resultant freight valuations allows us to determine the total available market for potential autonomous applications.

Regulations, Infrastructure Considerations, Labor, & Safety – While still evolving, upon publication, this will be a one-stop document for all information on regulations and infrastructure, as well as an analysis of the impact of current and pending regulations so you can focus on what matters most. Instead of scouring the internet, attending webinars, or seeking insights into the potential impact of these areas and logging the results away, our team will collect and organize, giving you more time to focus on your role and support your business goals.

Vehicle TCOWith coverage of utilization, fuel economy, maintenance, and more, we’ll dig into the details of each autonomous application accompanied by our Excel TCO model. We’ll present a base-, slow-, and fast-case forecast in an open Excel document, giving you scenarios to understand business opportunities. In addition, the Excel format will allow you to modify and update the tool to utilize ACT’s forecast as a baseline and customize the model to fit your needs. This is the core of the report, a unit economic model with a bottoms-up approach that analyzes all cost inputs through 2040, allowing for scenarios analysis and visibility of the cost impact of weather, regulations, and more.

Executive Summary Presentation & Call – Gain additional insights and clarity from our research team with an extensive review of the work, including an opportunity to ask your most pressing questions so you can better understand our conclusions and insights.

Annual Units, 2023-2040

Autonomous Population

  • Total Trucking Market Size
    • Population and Mileage Analysis, and Freight Rate Analysis & Forecasts of:
      • MD 4-7 Distribution
      • MD 4-7 Vocational
      • HD 8 Distribution
      • HD 8 OTR
      • HD 8 Vocational
  • On-highway trucking market size
    • Local versus highway freight rates
  • US, Canada breakdown
    • Local versus highway freight rates
  • Utilization
  • Labor productivity
    • Driver pay
    • Driver demographics
    • FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse
  • Safety
    • Insurance
    • Liability
    • Network Security
  • Driver plus AI team model
  • Driver-out with off-highway support
  • Headhaul-only model



ACT Research is seeking OEMs, autonomous tech suppliers, new entrants, legacy suppliers, dealers, fleets, infrastructure and investment firms, and other entities that are working to understand and strategically position their business for success in the development of autonomous technologies and adoption by participating in the 2nd edition of DRIVING AUTOMATION.



What does this mean for you?

  • Share insights, developments, and experiences with ACT’s autonomous research team.
  • Receive the current findings and TCO model, and provide feedback on the model.
  • Receive preliminary written analysis and TCO documents before the study is published.
  • Receive final deliverables presented at the end of Q4’23.



What does this mean for you?

  • Participant onboarding: Q1’23 – Q2’23
  • Participant engagements: 3 initial calls + 1 preliminary review
  • Preliminary deliverables review: Q3’23
  • Final deliverables presented: Q4’23



  • Subscription to ACT’s NA Commercial Vehicle OUTLOOK through 2024
  • Quarterly calls through 2024 with the ACT AV team

What does this mean for you?

With your participation, you’ll gain access to ongoing forecast and market updates through the end of calendar year 2024.



What does this mean for you?

Participation – $19,000

  • An $8,000 savings when you participate!

Off-the-Shelf Purchase – $27,000

What do DRIVING AUTOMATION 1st Edition Participants have to say?

“Nothing was missing, [ACT Research] covered all the topics and considerations for ADS commercial vehicles.”

“Great overall view of autonomous for commercial vehicles…we enjoyed reading it…we’re smarter on AV than before [participating in the project].”

“[The write-up] gives people the “Cliff Notes” version of everything they need to know about autonomous commercial vehicles.”

“Overall, [we] like the way the available market was built-up, [by] defining in layers.”

“[The analysis report and TCO model] are really thorough and covered everything in detail.”

[The analysis report and TCO model] are really good work. It has been fun working with ACT Research.”

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Actionable Intelligence

What is practical, useful, hands-on information from industry experts worth to your business?

Many businesses have paid five and six figures for our custom project work, utilizing our forecasts and insights to position their businesses for success down the road. What can you do today to get the information you need? ACT’s DRIVING AUTOMATION: COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION’S PURSUIT OF LEVEL 4 AUTONOMY is available for just $27,000…or less if you participate and provide your company’s voice!

The path to autonomous adoption is coming fast, but regulations are still developing. We’ve created this resource to guide business planning and allow you to be in a strategic position for regulation implementation. For a limited time, we’re calling on and working with autonomous technology suppliers, OEMs, suppliers, fleets, investment firms, and other industry leaders to provide first-hand insights into this one-of-a-kind work.

Ready to get started or want to learn more? Act now. Complete the form below to start this process with the ACT Research team. Have more questions or want to talk through the report with a team member? Fill out the form below to schedule a call.

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