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Autonomous Trucking- What Is It And What’s The Future Of The Trucking Industry?

Few occupations are as important to the American economy as truck driving. Unfortunately, not many people are interested in the job as a driver. Can robots be the replacement?

Trucking employment decreased sharply at the onset of the pandemic and is yet to recover fully, despite rising freight demand. Analysts estimate the present shortage at 80,000 drivers, a record level, and expect it to double over the next decade. This gap has intensified congestion at ports and warehouses around the country while also limiting  growth and raising costs.

Even before Covid-19, the industry had complained about a lack of workforce for years. The issue is that long-distance trucking is not appealing to many workers: It includes demanding schedules, extended absences from home, hazardous conditions, and health hazards. Turnover at larger carriers exceeds 90%, which explains why the shortfall has continued despite businesses raising wages and offering large bonuses.

What are Self Driving Trucks?

Self-driving trucks are commercial vehicles that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate anything from shipping yard operations to long-distance deliveries. 

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If these efforts succeed, they have the potential to change the $800 billion trucking sector. According to a McKinsey & Co. report, automation may save logistics costs by up to 40% and operating expenses by up to 45%. This should mean faster deliveries, lower prices, and more dependable service for customers.

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The advantages of Self-Driving Trucks-

  1. Working Conditions for Drivers- 4,000 people are killed each year in truck accidents in the USA. Nobody can deny that truck drivers have a difficult job. That’s where autonomous trucking can help. The idea is for autonomous technology to support drivers’ efforts, reducing the strain of long-distance driving, heavy lifting, and other activities. As a result, driverless trucks are expected to remove many of the constraints associated with long-distance trucking while simultaneously enhancing working conditions. Since the technology is still fairly new, autonomous trucking may result in accidents from time to time.  If you were hit by an autonomous truck, search “truck accident law firm near me” to find a suitable attorney experienced in this type of law.
  2. Faster Turnaround Times- By eliminating legal restrictions on driving time, autonomous vehicles might operate around the clock, reducing congestion, increasing delivery capacity, and tripling the daily range of a given truck from 600 to 1,200 miles. They should dramatically minimize accidents by reducing human error. 
  3. Environmental Logistics- The future of the transportation and logistics industry is green. To reduce its environmental impact, the fleet business must rely on a patchwork of solutions like optimization via IoT technology, alternative fuels, and others. Driverless trucks can improve their environmental performance by using less fuel.

What are the Driverless Autonomous Vehicles’ Limitations?

  1. Liability & Safety- Current liability legislation is based on the notion that automobiles are driven by persons who can be held accountable if an accident occurs. The issue of accountability is crucial to the future of autonomy since both regulators need to know that the party responsible will be held accountable if something goes wrong.
  2. Because autonomous vehicles are software-based, hackers can compromise the software and introduce delivery flaws such as overriding controls.
  3. Even if a driver is present within a self-driving vehicle, they cannot detect software manipulation.
  4. Processing and management of self-driving trucks require a tremendous degree of technology and intellect, as they can fail due to a minor coding error or computer malfunction.
  5. The licensing infrastructure for self-driving trucks is a significant challenge for state and federal administrations.
  6. While technological improvements in the trucking industry can make our lives easier, they can also expose drivers to privacy violations.
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Is this to say that truckers will lose their jobs? 

No, most likely not. Recent research sponsored by the Department of Transportation discovered that automation-related layoffs would be limited, gradual, and more than balanced. Yes, fewer drivers will be driving huge trucks across the country. Collaboration between workers and technology, on the other hand, will provide new and better prospects. Overall, the study showed that automation might create up to 35,000 new jobs each year, raise salaries for the U.S. employees, and increase GDP by up to 0.3 percent over the next three decades.

This shows that lawmakers should support autonomous vehicles in the long run.

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