There’s been a lot of buzz about autonomous vehicles lately. While the safety record of and public reactions to autonomous vehicles have been a mixed bag, the future of self-driving big rigs is actually pretty exciting. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, self-driving trucks are not expected to replace actual truck drivers. The industry will still need truck driving schools to turn out plenty of well-trained drivers with CDLs in hand.
The Possible Benefits of Self-Driving Trucks
Experts in the trucking industry think that autonomous trucks will act more like a backseat driver, rather than completely replacing human drivers. That’s because humans are still needed to do the complex maneuvering through urban areas. It isn’t expected that autonomous trucks will be capable of going completely dock to dock without any intervention from humans. Furthermore, self-driving trucks may actually increase opportunities in the industry for human drivers. That’s because they’re expected to improve efficiency, which consequently reduces freight costs. Lower freight costs support rising demand, which generates more business.
The Current State of Self-Driving Trucks
Self-driving passenger cars have a somewhat patchy safety record so far, and they’re still being tested with considerable limitations. As far as heavy duty commercial vehicles are concerned, the data so far looks promising. A number of companies have been testing self-driving trucks for the transportation industry, including Daimler and Volvo. There have even been some autonomous vehicles already placed into service. An example is the mining industry, which uses autonomous Caterpillar trucks. They’ve demonstrated superior communication abilities, even operating deep beneath the surface. The U.S. Postal Service is hoping to launch an autonomous fleet soon for the purpose of improving efficiency. It would still need human workers in the vehicles to deliver the mail.
Join Phoenix Truck Driving Institute for our next Open House event in Phoenix, AZ! Enjoy some refreshments, try your hand at driving around a big rig, and get the insider’s scoop on the trucking industry. Get in touch at (877) 295-5372 to find out about earning your CDL with our accelerated program.