With the influx of autonomous driving technology, it's no surprise the trucking industry is feeling the impact. Questions about autonomously driven trucks bring out related questions of job-security, pay-rate and of course safety.
Trucking accidents are always a problem in our country, so it makes sense that the possibility of autonomous trucks on our highways would raise considerable concern within the industry and for anyone driving.
What will be the impact of this new technology on trucking?
It looks like there might not be much impact at all, at least not immediately.
According an article by Overdrive online, automated trucking technology could eventually result in substantial change to hour and mileage laws, increased efficiency and other radical changes, but these changes are still a long way off.
- Technology needs to be developed more fully: In particular, the article cited infrastructural improvements that would be required before successful integration of automated trucks, including "smoother highways, better signage and highway-to-vehicle communication instruments." These instruments are in the hands of the public sector, so there is little the trucking industry can do directly to effect these changes.
- Legal roadblocks: The trucking industry depends on smooth interstate commerce. Without assurance that state laws won't vary to the point of obstructing automated trucking, the industry is unlikely to make the substantial investment required to field a fleet of automated trucks.
- Safety features need to be better tested and improved: The realist is that automating trucking technology is still in its infancy. More tests and developments would be required before this tech begins to change the face of trucking in any substantial way.
Whether the change to automated trucking comes sooner, later, or not at all, the reality remains that trucks are a significant danger for truck drivers and everyone else on the road. While trucking is necessary for our country's economy, we all need to be extremely careful to avoid serious, life-threatening truck accidents.