There are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers working on the roads. Their job is critical to the American economy, and to keep our lives running smoothly. Many predict that self-driving trucks will change the landscape because of their ability to cut costs for major trucking companies. Advocates for autonomous trucks say that they will be safer than human drivers once the technology is perfected. However, others are concerned for the safety of Americans on the road. Can an autonomous truck really be as safe as a truck driven by an experienced, trained professional?
Several companies are vying to get a jump on the competition already. Google company, Waymo, is currently testing autonomous trucks in Atlanta. Uber is currently using retrofitted autonomous Volvo SUV’s in Arizona, mainly staying on highways. Both Google and Uber are using drivers as backup behind the wheel in case the technology fails, which is what recently happened in Tempe, Arizona, where an Uber self-driving Volvo struck and fatally injured a pedestrian. Another company, Embark, recently drove from one coast to the other in a self-driving truck over a five-day period. Tesla is also edging into the market, offering an electric truck that features self-driving Autopilot aids. Starsky Robotics recently had truckers steer a truck down a remote Florida highway from a remote location. The truckers were not sitting in the cabs.
Pros and Cons of Autonomous Trucks
Advocates of autonomous cars say that truckers could benefit by being able to stay local, so they would not have to leave their families. Many experts on autonomous driving technology say that trained professionals will always be needed for big rigs to navigate in cities and suburban areas. Staying local for truck drivers would likely cut back their earning capacity. Another advantage for truckers is that they can sleep in their cabs during long stretches of time, while the truck is driving on the highway. The remote driving option seems attractive for truckers, allowing them to work from home, but may be implausible due to insurance issues. It is unclear who will insure autonomous vehicles that are involved in accidents.
Currently, self-driving trucks are on the roads in five states; Arizona, California, Nevada, Michigan, and Florida. The autonomous trucking revolution is likely to happen, but not overnight. Currently, the technology is outpacing the laws and regulations that govern road safety. Major insurance companies are still trying to figure out how to insure self-driving cars, and the technology still needs some work.
Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Hold Negligent Parties Accountable
If you have been injured in a truck accident, or lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you are not alone. To learn more about how the experienced Columbia truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you obtain answers and hold negligent parties responsible, call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online. We provide free, no obligation consultations.
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