Technology was on mind of Estevan's Mayor Roy Ludwig and many others as they met south of the border to discuss the future of trade on the continent. As a director on the board of the Central North American Free Trade Corridor Association, which fosters free trade and movement of goods from Canada through down into Mexico, he said it went very well.
"A few of the things that we're looking at is automated trucking across the border. That's something that's new, but Mercedes-Benz and a few of the others are looking at large trucks being automated. It's just kind of a sign of the times, a snapshot of where we're going along these main highway systems. It was very interesting."
"In the trucking industry, they're having trouble getting drivers, so it would help that situation. There would be less accidents because it's all automated, it would all be run by a computer. They've got fail-safe systems built in, so as time goes on, they're getting safer and safe," he added.
Drones were also a hot topic at the meetings. Several retail giants are already looking at or experimenting with the use of such units, and their place in future trade was thoroughly discussed.
"There's a lot of technology improvement on them for the movement of goods. I think, within the next few years, you're going to start seeing some fairly major changes. It's catching on. Artificial intelligence and robotics are just making leaps and bounds, and we're going to see more and more of those types of systems moving forward."
Ludwig noted that the board's next meeting may be touching on the advance of automated technology in the agriculture industry as well.