Self-Driving Trucks Coming Sooner Than Expected
Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017 at 7:03 pm
The big question on everyone’s mind concerning self-driving trucks is whether they will be safer than those driven by truckers. Proponent are quick to say self-driving vehicles will not only be more affordable, but will be safer and hopefully save lives. It may only be a few years away before we see the first self-driving truck on highways in operation, because several companies are already in the research and development phase of making them a reality, and not just a concept.
“This system often drivers better than I do,” stated Greg Murphy, a former professional truck driver of 40 years turned tester for Otto’s self-driving truck program.1
Breakthroughs in Technology for Self-Driving Trucks
The following are some of the technological breakthroughs and benefits self-driving trucks offer as evidence that they’ll be more economical and possibly safer:
- Truck drivers are limited to driving only 11 hours a day, whereas self-driving trucks will be able to roll 24 hours a day/seven days a week.
- As we move more and more towards online shopping, self-driving trucks will positively impact every area of the economy.
- Self-driving trucks can seamlessly coordinate programmed movements to be driven “platoon-style” or one after another, so they cut down on wind drag and save on fuel costs.
Possible Downside of Self-Driving Trucks
- Trucks will need more advanced sensors and programming code to tackle the heavy-level of driving already done by seasoned truck drivers with decades of roadworthy experience.
- Self-driving truck could negatively impact the employment sector of the trucking industry, and possibly display hundreds of thousands, if not millions of truckers who drive for a living. There’s approximately 1.7 million truckers in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Who’s Liable When a Self-Driving Truck Crashes?
A few recent highly publicized self-driving car accidents involving Uber, Tesla, and even Google vehicles have led some to wonder, where will the liability fall. Law enforcement and even the insurance industry are still fuzzy on how this will all be addressed, too. Where the driver of a vehicle was once the obvious party to hold accountable, today the blame is less apparent. There are also different levels of autonomous vehicles. It’s rated on a scale from zero to five. Zero being a human is in full control of the vehicle, and five is where the vehicle is completely self-operating. Law experts see anything below a three as a driver/human error, while anything above that may be the manufacturer’s fault. Law experts also state that product liability isn’t binary, or black and white. There can be multiple parties at fault, in any given vehicle collision.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at Chandler McNulty LLP
If you have been injured in a truck-related accident, get a hard-hitting legal expert that will fight to the end to get you the justice and compensation you deserve? Contact the experienced truck accident attorney at Chandler McNulty LLP for the best legal advocacy, so you can heal and they can take the reins to bring you a successful conclusion to the legal end of your recovery.
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1“Self-Driving Trucks: Tractor-Trailers Without a Human at The Wheel Will Soon Barrel Onto Highways Near You. What Will This Mean for The Nation’s 1.7 million Truck Drivers?” published in the MIT Technology Review, March/April 2017.