Autonomous Trucks to Hit the Road in Texas
TX - Waymo, a self-driving technology company is bringing automated trucks to Texas and New Mexico, according to TEXASMONTHLY.COM. The trucks are already running routes in Georgia, California, and Arizona. Waymo selected Texas for the high volume of freight that runs through the state’s roads.*
According to the company, the first step will involve introducing autonomous minivans to the road to create detailed maps of the major interstates. Once the Chrysler Pacifica vans have mapped out the roads using sensors, Waymo will add large tractor-trailers to their fleets in the state. The trucks will have drivers in the cabins to control the massive vehicles in the event that something goes wrong.
The semis will use the information gathered in the maps to interpret the appropriate speed based on road conditions and speed limits.
Waymo has yet to set a timeline for the introduction of these vehicles.
Proponents of the autonomous technology are claiming that these vehicles present the possibility of eliminating human error on the road and keeping people on the road safer. Some critics are concerned that the vehicles will lead to massive unemployment problems, as around 300,000 long-haul truckers may lose their jobs.
Texas has around 65,000 trucking companies, most of them small and locally owned. Many workers who might lose their livelihoods to autonomous trucks live in the state and are concerned. A large union that represents 1.4 million members is arguing that the driverless vehicles use technology that is not proven and that will put the public at risk.
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