Self-Driving Trucks Currently Being Tested in Nevada
By now, you have likely heard about the self-driving cars currently being tested on roadways across America. Google has been testing a fleet of modified SUVs that can drive themselves and announced plans to produce its own self-driving vehicles sometime in the next few years. Though still some time away from mass production and commercial sales, self-driving cars have the potential to be the cars of the future.
Other companies are attempting to enter the self-driving vehicle field. Daimler, a German truck and car company, recently unveiled a self-driving semi-truck that is currently being tested in Nevada. The technology is currently aimed at supplementing drivers, at least for the time being.
The self-driving truck models thus far require drivers to assume control of the trucks when driving on and off the freeway. If there is any issue, the truck will signal to the driver for assistance.
Despite these current limitations, those in the field believe the semi-trucks will soon be fully autonomous. Currently, these cars and trucks can only be tested in Nevada, Florida, Michigan, and California. Manufacturers believe testing the trucks in new regions is a vital part of development.
The Impact of the Self-Driving Truck on Jobs
One of the concerns with the future introduction of self-driving trucks is the potential impact on the economy and job market. Truck drivers, truck stop workers, and many other jobs dependent on the trucking industry as it exists today could be impacted.
Another potential impact could be on the roads and communities by the highways. Without the need for drivers, or with drivers catching sleep behind the wheel as the truck drives itself, trucks could run all day and night, which could lead to crowded roadways and wear and tear on highways. Additional regulations would thus likely need to be passed to prevent this new technology from having any negative impacts.
Eliminating Hundreds of Thousands of Truck Accidents
Each year, tens of thousands of drivers will tragically die in truck accidents and many more will become seriously or even permanently injured. Like self-driving cars, self-driving trucks eliminate the human error element to truck driving. Human error is one of the most common causes of car and truck accidents. Accordingly, by automating the trucking process, the number of truck accidents should decrease dramatically. This supposes the technology is perfected and well-tested before release. In time, it seems likely these trucks could save many lives annually.
Vehicles of the future may look quite different from those today, with the overall trend universally moving towards self-driving vehicles. Time will tell how the trucking industry is impacted by fast advancing technology.
Currently, 3,800 deaths sadly occur as a direct result of trucking accidents in the United States, according to Forbes. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one because of the negligence of a truck driver, you should retain an attorney who can advise you of your rights to compensation as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights.
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