The concept of fully autonomous, self-driving cars has set the auto industry ablaze in a race to create the vehicles of the future. You’ve surely heard about new concepts pushing the latest in AI and other technologies, but have you heard about the idea of self-driving commercial trucks?
The concept has been tossed around, but the question on everyone’s mind is whether a big rig driving on its own is a good idea. Some believe that they are the answer to several problems, while others point to issues that could arise.
Aside from the possible need California truck accident lawyers if technology goes awry, implementing self-driving trucks poses several hurdles in regards to the law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets forth regulations that trucking companies must abide by, though there are other agencies who do the same.
As of now, there are no clear regulations on the use of automated vehicles in the industry. This poses questions for lawmakers and regulatory bodies, with discussions well under way. Even if self-driving trucks are being considered, it’s going to take time before they hit the road.
Drivers and Labor
One of the top concerns from the trucking industry comes from truckers themselves. These individuals face long hours and exhaustion from countless nights on the road, but putting them roughly one million of them out of a job hardly seems like the answer to accidents that occur from these conditions.
On the other hand, an aging workforce is an issue for the industry. Roughly 55% of the workforce is making their way to retirement, but there isn’t enough interest in the job to attract a younger audience that could take their place. Autonomous trucks could be a solution to fill that inevitable gap.
As of now, self-driving trucks cannot be fully autonomous. That means all of their features would simply offer assistance to truck drivers, which would help keep the workforce while reducing accidents. Drivers would still be needed to monitor them as well as maneuver through crowded streets, driving through tight allies, and navigating busy areas. If full autonomy is eventually achieved, this could create a new dynamic that doesn’t incorporate drivers.
As with any new form of technology, there are a lot of questions to consider. The efficiency of commercial truck AI is one main point, especially with so many failures taking place in the push for autonomy.
However, there are upsides like the ability to pinpoint a truck’s location through GPS. Avoiding collisions, improving efficiency, and relieving driver fatigue in assistive implementation are also major benefits of self-driving vehicles.
Are Self-Driving Trucks a Good Idea?
There are several pros and cons to debate on this issue. As for fully autonomous trucks, the inevitable layoffs pose a major downside. For those that simply assist America’s current truckers, the only downside is figuring out how to implement this technology and ensure it creates safer roads. As assistive devices, self-driving trucks are an excellent idea for the future of the industry.