Self-Driving Truck Makes First Commercial Delivery
Self-Driving Truck Makes History When It Delivers 2,000 Cases of Beer
Otto, Uber's self-driving truck operation, recently completed its first commercial delivery. The self-driving truck traveled about 120 miles on Interstate 25 to Fort Collins, Colorado to deliver 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer. A trained driver was present in the cabin of the vehicle with the ability to take over if needed, but the drive was completed successfully with solely automation. This initial delivery is a symbolic step forwards towards what Uber predicts will be the future of self-driving vehicles and trucks.
Uber purchased Otto, a California-based startup company, back in August. Uber has made known its intention to eventually offer a fleet of Uber-owned self-driving vehicles and trucks. The company will become a massive transportation network that transports people and goods at all hours of the day without the need for drivers.
Uber purchased Otto for a whopping $700 million, but if the company is as successful as Uber envisions, the investment will be well worth it. The use of self-driving trucks is somewhat controversial because it will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs across the United States. Nonetheless, most acknowledge that the future of the trucking industry is eventually trending towards robotics.
Self-driving trucks may come with a benefit beyond economics—they could prevent thousands of fatal and serious truck accidents each year. Commercial trucks are massive vehicles that pose a significant risk to the drivers and passengers of smaller motor vehicles. When a truck hits a car, the results can be catastrophic. Accident victims may experience head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, whiplash, and much more.
While truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial license and meet certain minimum requirements, truck driver negligence remains the number one cause of truck crashes. By eliminating the human element to truck accidents, the rate of accidents should greatly diminish. Self-driving trucks will never be too tired, distracted, or intoxicated like a truck could be. They will not speed, tailgate, or run lights—so long as they are functioning properly.
Potential Dangers of Self-Driving Trucks
Despite the many clear benefits, there are some potential issues with self-driving trucks, particularly while in the testing phase. Self-driving vehicles hold the potential for accidents caused by malfunctions or incomplete programming. This technology is still relatively new, and it is possible that some "bugs" will be uncovered as self-driving trucks complete more testing. For now, the human driver in the vehicle will serve as an emergency backup. Eventually, however, these trucks will run fully autonomously, and it is not inconceivable that malfunctions could occur.
Most people believe any accidents stemming from self-driving truck will be far fewer than those currently caused by human drivers. As the driving industry evolves and becomes more automated, self-driving vehicle manufacturers like Otto could face more lawsuits. In the event a malfunction or error does cause an accident, liability would likely rest with the auto or truck maker. Autonomous vehicle companies can thus anticipate the potential for more litigation, while personal injury claims against private individuals may diminish as the autonomous vehicle industry continues to grow.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck, or another motor vehicle accident in Georgia, contact our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates. Our firm has over 36 years of experience assisting car, truck, and other accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.
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