Around 70% of all cargo in the USA travels by truck — that's about 14 billion tons every year — and scientists now believe they've come up with a cheaper, safer and more sustainable alternative: self-driving trucks.
Bart and Homer Simpson once famously discovered that truckers had been using self-driving technology for years — and they'd do anything to protect their secret.
But it seems as though this idea is no longer the stuff of cartoon scripts; the team behind "Otto" are deadly serious about bringing self-driving technology into commercial trucking within the foreseeable future.
Whilst self-driving trucks are obviously an exciting, futuristic concept, the motivation behind the development is actually pretty serious.
Although US trucks make up around 1% of vehicles on the road, they account for nearly 30% of traffic pollution; the safety record is cause for concern too, as trucks are behind nearly 9.5% of all driving fatalities in the US.
The team behind the project claims to have pulled together some of the top minds in self-driving technology, from the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla.
The future looks bright for driverless vehicles in general, and the implications for road safety are a big motivator. Google — who are currently working on their own self-driving car project — estimate that deaths from traffic accidents could be reduced dramatically by removing human control from driving.
So, what's next — flying cars? Well yes actually, they're in the pipeline too. A German company, called Lilium Aviation, are working on what is essentially a flying car — although technically it's a plane which can take off and land vertically — which is due to hit the skies by January 2018.
The future is well and truly here.