TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In Arizona-- the border is a bridge to billions in business flowing back and forth between Mexico and the U.S.
The border and how new transportation technology could affect it were a big part of a conference in Tucson Thursday.
As cargo moves from Mexico to Arizona, Customs and Border Protection and the Arizona Department of Transportation can track truckers and their cargo, but John Halikowski, the head of ADOT says trucks without drivers would reduce the risk of smuggling.
"Because part of security is making sure once the truck is loaded and sealed it doesn't stop anywhere where contraband could be added to it.
TuSimple is developing self driving trucks in Tucson. TuSimple's co-founder Xiaodi Hou says companies know a self driving truck is harder to hijack and robot drivers are harder to corrupt.
"In some bribery issues they give the driver some money but the driver would just do drug trafficking for them."
One of the propositions at the conference is that a lot of people don't even care if they have a car anymore especially if they can have something like the self driving bus on display known as Olli. You get on board Olli and then you pick up your smartphone and you tell it where you want to go.
The bus comes from a Phoenix company called Local Motors.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Local Motors General Manager Phillip Rayer, “Say someone else has stepped on; their directions conflict with mine. What happens?”
Phillip Rayer: “It'll make selections and what it'll do is it'll look at the best route for the two different riders and it'll make a decision based on the timing and the need for those riders and it'll allow the two riders to work together simultaneously."
Engineer and consultant Shelley Row told the audience when self driving cars keep moving from one passenger to another there's little need to park so cities will be able to turn parking lots into something else.
“That can be used for other uses that have higher value, higher economic value and that can be good for the city."
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild wants Tucson to be ready to develop and use self driving tech.
"I think Tucson's perfectly positioned both to be a place where the companies come to create the technology and then to implement it."