Autonomous truck technology
Although there has been a lot of media attention given over the past few years to the development of self-driving cars by Google and other companies, the fact that autonomous trucks are also on the horizon has not received that much notice. However, they may become a reality on highways in Indiana and around the country at some point, and the trucking industry will dramatically change as a result, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
In a report released in November, the ATRI noted that the implications of the technology could have an effect on a wide variety of areas. However, it believes that truck drivers should not be concerned about their job security, as it is likely that the presence of a human operator in the cab will still be necessary for several reasons, including to take over the wheel if there is a failure.
One major obstacle that must be cleared before self-driving trucks become a reality is existing infrastructure. There will need to be an upgrade that allows roads to communicate with the vehicles as well as signage improvement. The ATRI believes that the resulting costs should be the responsibility of federal and state governments and not the trucking industry.
One benefit of the new technology could be a dramatic reduction in truck accidents. However, until it is fully adopted, there will continue to be collisions that are caused by truck driver fatigue or other negligent behavior on the part of the driver, and in many cases occupants of other vehicles that are involved in the accident will be seriously injured. Those who are in this type of situation may want to meet with a personal injury attorney to determine whether both the truck driver as well as the carrier could be held financially responsible for the losses that the victims have incurred.
Source: Overdrive Online, “Autonomous trucks pave way for hours reform and more, but major roadblocks remain, says ATRI”, James Jaillet, Nov. 17, 2016