Nobody ever said that being a long-haul truck driver was easy, but is the job too difficult for an artificially intelligent, self-driving “robo-truck” to perform? Automotive engineers and computer scientists say no. In fact, self-driven trucks are transporting product around the country right now.
Google has been getting a great deal of attention about its autonomous vehicles, and most of the press attention has been devoted to small cars that drive themselves. However, the automotive industry has been pumping out driverless trucks as well. For example, Daimler has created the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, which already has permission to drive on highways in Nevada.
It’s certainly possible to have completely driverless semitrucks in the near future. However, at the moment, the driverless trucks being tested have human occupants who can take over the controls in the case of an emergency. Also, Daimler is flirting with the idea of “peloton” trucks in which a pack of trucks will have one driver at the front of the caravan. This driver will be able to control the other semi-autonomous trucks to some degree, while safely leading them across the country.
Driverless trucks will come with some amazing benefits for highway safety and the environment. For one, they’re more fuel efficient. Secondly, they’re not at risk of having a driver who’s asleep at the wheel or distracted by an electronic device.
Many truck drivers will be fearful that they’ll lose their jobs. However, losing a job to computer-driven trucks will not happen for quite a few years. In the meantime, drivers may benefit from increased safety and less chances of getting hurt in semitruck accidents. In the meantime, if you are involved in a semitruck crash — whether you were on the job or not — you might want to investigate whether you can pursue a personal injury claim relating to the incident.
Source: atbs.com, “Self-Driving Trucks: Are Truck Drivers Out of a Job?,” accessed Dec. 29, 2017