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Will Self-Driving Trucks Take Over the Trucking Industry?

big truck driving during sunset

Self-Driving Trucks to be Widely Introduced in 2021

Despite the numerous warnings from the National Traffic Safety Board and other agencies regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles, the tech startup TuSimple is releasing a line of self-driving tractor-trailers in 2021.

This comes years after competitors like Tesla, Uber, Waymo (from Google), and Daimler began rolling out autonomous vehicles in everything from personal cars to taxi services to other freight-hauling trucks that have yet to be widely scaled.

The San Diego-based company has already begun testing its Autonomous Freight Network in the Southwest region and aims to have these vehicles nationwide by 2024. Having already established partnerships with UPS, Navistar, Penske, and other companies, the company promises that its product is near its peak of performance and perception.

What Does This Mean for Trucking Jobs?

Unlike what the word “autonomous” implies, many self-driving trucking companies are hiring employees to test drive these trucks, meaning that similar to other autonomous vehicles, they will, at least in the testing phase, require a CDL-holding driver behind the wheel.

However, the TuSimple trucks are currently classified as Level 4 for autonomous vehicles, which means that they will not need a human driver to operate at all when on the roads.

Many are concerned with the potential risks of having self-driving trucks on the road. For safety precautions, TuSimple plans to have logistics hubs with engineers making sure that these trucks are staying on their predetermined routes and are up to standard at all times. In contrast, the Uber and Waymo trucks will still have a “back-up” human driver for precautionary measures.

While the thought of autonomous vehicles may be alarming for truck drivers, there has not been any indication of a widespread rollout that could significantly impact the trucking industry any time soon. As it stands, reserving an Uber Semi costs more than the average trucker salary, which could mitigate any job security concerns. For the time being, at least, it does not look like the trucking industry will be severely affected, unless it comes to Google technology and products.

At Politis & Matovina, our Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of truck accident survivors. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these events, turn to our firm for caring and experienced legal advocates who will fight for the justice and results you need.

Contact us at (386) 333-6613 at your earliest convenience. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.