Are Self-Driving Trucks Here to Take Your Job?
We’ve all been sitting angrily in traffic and dreamed of a self-driving car, like KITT from Knight Rider. Although today’s technology isn’t quite to that level, self-driving cars are getting closer to reality. Companies like Google, Tesla and Uber have invested millions into the technology, leaving truck drivers worried about their job security. So let us be the first to tell you—don’t be! Here’s why we don’t think today’s drivers should not concern themselves about self-driving trucks yet.
The robo-revolution is still far away.
Semi-trucks are more regulated than passenger vehicles. Thus self-driving trucks will face far more government scrutiny and oversight than self-driving cars. The companies testing self-driving trucks are doing just that—testing. They’re also testing in optimal weather and road conditions and with short distances. It will take years of research and proof of the concept before the federal government approves a widespread rollout of automated trucks.
Self-Driving Trucks doesn’t mean driver-less.
The self-driving trucks in testing are not fully autonomous. They stay in their own lanes at a consistent speed, the trucks still need driver input to get on and off the highway and navigate around busy urban streets.
Reports state these features improve a driver’s quality of life on the road. Often similar to how autopilot features on airplanes have helped pilots without replacing them entirely. A fully automated semi is years away from becoming a reality, or commercially available.
Drivers are still in high demand.
The American Trucking Associations estimates that there are 3.5 million drivers in the U.S., with 50,000 more in demand. So before any automated trucks hit the road, companies are doing everything they can to attract new drivers and service their existing customers. That’s why you see many trucking companies offering sign-on bonuses and other tactics to recruit drivers. Recruiters have seats to fill, and even if the first automated trucks roll out tomorrow, they’ll still need a driver behind the wheel.
We understand it worries many drivers about the possibility of a driverless future but trust us when we say it’s business as usual for the years ahead. In fact, we think there’s never been a better time to be a truck driver. All the changes in the industry today, including better pay and new truck features, are benefitting drivers and making life on the road a little easier.