If you believe driverless cars is a scary concept, you would be justified in being terrified by the idea of self-driving trucks.
The idea of automatically-driven trucks is much more that a pipe dream. It’s actually been tried out. Recently, a convoy of self-driving trucks made its way across Europe to the Port of Rotterdam, reported TechCrunch.
We have read a lot about self-driven cars that are being developed by companies such as Google. However, the development of self-driven trucks has been progressing at the same time. IHS Automotive has claimed yearly sales of self-driving trucks could reach 60,000 annually by 2035.
That would amount to about 15 percent of sales for trucks in the big, Class 8 weight segment, on the assumption that the technology reaches “appreciable levels” by the end of the next decade, IHS forecasters said.
It would still represent a small number of the trucks that are on the highway, although the number would be significant.
The idea of these heavy trucks being self-driven is a rather alarming one. Some of the driverless cars that are taking part in trials have been involved in wrecks. Self-driving trucks would have drivers but that’s no guarantee they would be able to prevent a crash if something went wrong with the technology.
Recently, CNN reported that Freightliner has been issued a license to test out self-driving tractor-trailers in Nevada. The truck manufacturer already has an automated big rig in operation and will now start testing it on public highways in the state.
The Freightliner Inspiration is designed to drive itself on limited access interstates. There are two trucks. The CNN report said a human driver will take over the controls when it is in urban areas.
Unlike many other states, Nevada has legislation in place that allows for the licensing of self-driving vehicles.
The Freightliner truck uses radar sensors and cameras to watch lanes and avoid hitting other vehicles.
Self-Driving Trucks Could Lead to Trucker Lay Offs
The article in TechCrunch said self-driving trucks have the potential to “automate away” many jobs and make cost savings.
Author Ryan Petersen states:
“Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost.”
As a Virginia-based trucking accident lawyer, I remain concerned about this technology. Google has proposed to put sticky pads on its cars to soften the blow of collisions with pedestrians. If automated trucks crash, the consequences would be devastating in terms of human lives. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, please call me for a free consultation at (866) 455-6657.