Driving down the highway, you will pass at least one big rig. Semi trucks are the traditional method of freight transport in the United States, and we are used to sharing our roads with drivers who hold CDLs. Are you positive there was a driver in the last semi you saw? If you were in Arizona, there may not have been.
The Future of Self-Driving Trucks
Self-driving truck technology is the way of the future, and the future is here thanks to ridesharing giant Uber. The company has begun to haul freight across Arizona using automated trucks, and many people outside of the area had no idea until recently. Uber first rolled out the self-driving trucks in November but only in a single state. The company has not said how many trucks are on the road that are without a human in control.
The Volvo trucks have a human driver as a backup, but as a backup only. Uber and Volvo do not have a partnership, but Uber retrofitted Volvo trucks with currently-available technology. Uber says that this is a big step forward in the industry.
What’s next? Electric, autonomous trucks being developed by Waymo, Tesla and Uber.
The Benefits of Self-Driving Truck Technology
Why the push for autonomous trucks? Surprisingly, people don’t believe that the use of robot-driven semis will push humans out of their jobs. Instead, those in the know believe that there are benefits to the technology, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in driver safety. Also, it is expected that drivers of passenger vehicles, who share the road with truckers, will experience increased safety.
It’s not unusual for humans to be frightened of robots taking over their jobs. This has been a common fear for years. As more industries accept and encourage the use of machines to complete tasks that were otherwise completed by humans, people are worried about being pushed out. This is not the expectation within the trucking industry. In fact, autonomous technology is expected to benefit the human driver.
How Self-Driving Trucks Will Benefit Truck Drivers
Instead of being away from home for weeks at a time, human drivers would stick closer to home. Autonomous trucks would be used for the long haul, and humans would take over at trucking hubs located throughout the country. Human drivers will be needed for the finer maneuvers of truck driving, like backing up into a loading dock and more. It is also expected that some companies will prefer to have a human behind the wheel if only for additional safety.
If you are a trucker, the development and use of self-driving technology shouldn’t frighten you. Look into it and see how you will benefit. That said, it will be years before the technology is widely used, meaning that you have plenty of time left behind the wheel before you need to worry about how a self-driving truck may impact your job.
While you are researching self-driving semis, take some time to research semi-truck roadside assistance as well. Make sure your policy is up to date and, if you are in the market for a new policy, be sure to contact our team for assistance.