Are Self-driving Trucks Really the Future of the Trucking Industry?


Autonomous driving is becoming a massive trend across various industries. It is important to note that sophisticated technology already exists. However, the only thing that postpones its progress is the question of safety. For now, many companies developed self-driving trucks. They have been testing the innovations for several years. However, implementing self-driving vehicles in the trucking industry isn’t yet clear. 

 It is believed that most people will drive a self-driving car in the next few years. Sorting out your emails while commuting seems like an acceptable solution when using the vehicle for personal use. 

But, what happens in the industries that rely on driving? The trucking industry in the US consists of 3.5 million truck drivers. The process of automation threatens their jobs. How will the situation influence the market? Let’s find out!

Current situation

The trucking industry has a high demand for truck drivers now. If you are interested in a steady job that will provide a decent salary, you can find a truck driving job here.

Online shopping is rising in popularity across the US due to the pandemic. This trend increases the need for shipping. However, it is essential to note that fewer people choose truck driving as their career. Because of this, there is a shortage of truck drivers across the states. However, future automation trends might force drivers into different carriers.

The future

The truck driving job won’t disappear overnight. Knowing that the technology will be put to the test, the first generation of self-driving vehicles won’t work without a driver. 

Another critical aspect to note is the ability of self-driving trucks to move in different environments. Highways are predictable so that self-driving vehicles can navigate through them with ease. 

However, we can’t say the same for urbanized areas. Self-driving trucks might not be good at dealing with pedestrians and busy traffic. Truck drivers might become irreplaceable for driving through urban areas. However, the constant technological improvements might change the direction. Google and Tesla invest in the new technologies so that the innovation might perform better than the current ones.

The automation might result in losing 300,000 truck driving jobs annually. Some drivers might stay in the industry but change their position to fleet control at the office. 

The American Trucking Association (ATA) supports the implementation of self-driving vehicles in the industry. While the innovations are threatening many Americans who have chosen truck driving as a career, many are surprised that ATA supports this. Back in 2020, they claimed that they support self-driving vehicles. According to the statement by the board of directors, automation will be beneficial for truck drivers. 

ATA considered the advantages of the new technology. They claim that self-driving vehicles will boost the driver’s health and wellbeing. The technology is meant to increase productivity, efficiency and provide safety. 

Many members might be left speechless due to these statements. However, it is essential to note that the changes will happen in the near future whether ATA approves it or not. Therefore they are left with no other choice than to provide support. 

Final thoughts

Self-driving vehicles are the future. The American Trucking Association supports the changes, stating that they are beneficial for truck drivers. However, their implementation in the trucking industry isn’t entirely clear. We can’t predict the automation of the trucking industry since it depends on how technology will develop in the upcoming years. Even if the first generation of self-driving trucks gets into the industry, it will still require human input to see if it works properly.