Delivery drones and 3D printers will not eliminate the need for millions of trucks to move goods around the country. But self-driving trucks may someday eliminate human truck drivers.
The Texas Legislature has laid the groundwork for autonomous trucking, reasoning that it makes sense to establish regulations for what appears to be the future of the trucking industry. However, many independent owner-operators and federal trucking regulators are skeptical that self-driving 18-wheelers can safely replace licensed human truck drivers. At least not yet.
Should we really be scared of robot trucks? Maybe.
There is mounting evidence that computers can drive better than a live person. They don’t drink or fall asleep at the wheel. They don’t get distracted or run red lights. They can “see” in several directions and react faster.
But there are still bugs in the system and questions about what would really happen if trucks drove themselves from point A to point B. Aside from the issue of putting truckers out of work, here are four public safety concerns:
In the near future, we will likely see “technology-assisted” trucks before completely autonomous unmanned trucks. Similar to the autopilot on a jetliner, the human trucker might have manual control over some aspects of the trip while the computer takes over for the long and tedious portions. The trucker would still be in the driver’s seat and be able to quickly resume the controls.
What do you think about self-driving trucks?
Will human operators one day be phased out completely? Can robot trucks eliminate the thousands of annual fatalities from truck accidents in the U.S.? Are you fearful or hopeful about this trend toward autonomous trucking?
Source: Overdrive Magazine
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