Search Truck Driving Jobs By State

Why The Self Driving Truck Won't Take Your Truck Driving Job

Author: David Ray

Photo Credit: Daimler North AmericaWorld Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck




Truckers everywhere across the nation are talking about the biggest change in trucking in the last 75 years. Self-driving trucks are starting to hit the highways, leaving truck drivers in a state of limbo concerning the future of their occupation. While it is true that self-driving big rigs are being utilized in certain capacities, it is not true that truck drivers are going to be kicked to the curb. Self-driving forms of transportation have been around for decades, from self-driving cockpits in airplanes to self-driving combines and tractors. Inform yourself regarding this latest upgrade to the trucking industry so you are up to speed on what to expect as a truck driver. 



History of Self-Driving Trucks


In addition to the use of self-driving equipment for airlines and industrial farms, self-driving trucks have been around for years. However, up until this year, this type of technology was restricted to off-road uses. In addition to self-driving harvesting equipment for farms in the US, self-driving aka autonomous driving technology was utilized in Iraqi war zones and Australian mines. Thanks to the advancements in safety and usability, this technology is making its way onto American roads. 



Different Types of Self-Driving Tractor-Trailers


One of the first things to understand about self-driving trucks that are expected to be used by the US transportation industry is that one size does not fit all. All self-driving trucks do not completely operate themselves. Instead, there are four levels of automation that are in production:




  • Level 1 trucks--driver is in total control of the driving inputs

  • Level 2 trucks--feature semi-autonomous controls via ADAS functions

  • Level 3 trucks--require a truck driver who can switch onto auto-pilot mode during safe driving conditions.

  • Level 4 trucks--drive themselves without having a driver behind the wheel, in any type of traffic conditions


Level 2 trucks have already been rolling on highways in the US for the past 5 years. Additionally, level 3 trucks have been progressing in technological advancements quite rapidly in the past few years. As a result, level 4 trucks are expected to be the next big thing in terms of technical achievements. Forbes notes that each increased level of automation increases truck driver benefits and safety features. 



How Self-Driving Trucks can Improve Transportation Industry


Truckers are most likely wondering how self-driving trucks can do a better job than they can when driving and delivering loads. There are a few points to be made here, starting with the current issues facing truck drivers, which include:




  • Shortage of truck drivers due to increased trucking demand and decline in truckers capable of keeping up with the demand

  • Physical strain of truck driving, i.e. general decline in physical health due to excessive job stress

  • Concerns with hours-of-service rules regarding overloading truckers and pushing them beyond their capacity and toward fatigue-related accidents


In order to keep up with the ongoing demand for truck drivers, automated driving affords a new alternative. Using self-driving trucks that are fully automated, trucking companies can increase their capabilities of reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). Additionally, self-driving trucks reduces the physical toil placed on drivers, as well as reduces the number of fatigue-related problems associated with overworked truckers. Through the use of self-driving trucks, truck drivers will have the ability to tackle other work-related activities, such as coordinating their next pickup or handling their logbook. Instead of being stressed due to traffic conditions or adverse weather, truck drivers can allow their automated trucks to tackle the sticky situations, taking the aggravation out of trucking.


The use of self-driving tractor-trailers is reported by Forbes to provide the following benefits to the trucking industry:




  • Reduction of driver fatigue

  • Decrease maintenance costs for tractor-trailers

  • Reduce emissions

  • Decrease congestion on the roadways

  • Decrease the amount of downtime for vehicles and truckers

  • Reduce fuel costs by 4 to 7 percent

  • Decline in traffic fatalities due to driver error or fatigue


The benefits of self-driving trucks are very promising for the trucking industry. However, the risks associated with going semi or fully automated raise alarms for government regulators and insurance companies. Before automated trucks are acceptable on American roadways, several issues will have to be addressed.


Photo Credit: Daimler North AmericaWorld Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck


 



Automated Truck Platooning


Another way that self-driving trucking will increase the abilities of long haul trucking is through platooning. Also referred to as road trains, platooning occurs in the same method as driving closely to improve aerodynamics. Using level 3 and level 4 automated trucks, fleets will be computer programmed to operate in close proximities for the following benefits:




  • Increased fuel efficiency

  • Improve safety of trucks

  • Maintain a more efficient road capacity

  • Tighten the flow of traffic


Several companies are in the works for implementing the concept of platooning in self-driving trucks:




  • Volvo

  • Hino

  • PACCAR

  • Scania


 Effects of Self-Driving Trucks on Truckers


Truckers who are concerned with losing their livelihood due to self-driving trucks can stop fretting. For starters, the main reason that self-driving technology is being considered in the US trucking industry is because truckers simply cannot keep up with the supply and demand of transporting goods. Those truckers who are in the hot seat are experiencing high levels of job stress, reduced quality of life, health complaints and a lack of home time. By implementing some levels of automation, truck drivers will be able to see some relief from the high-stress world of being a trucker working over the road. 



Current Rollouts and Concepts


One trucking company has already brought self-driving trucks into fruition. Daimler Trucks North America is making waves as the first producer of self-driving commercial trucks that are ready to roll on US highways. As reported by Time, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck is autonomous, and it provides the following perks:




  • Offers full control of critical functions when in operation

  • Functions in favorable weather and traffic conditions


This type of technology allows truckers to put their truck in auto-mode when they are cruising in normal conditions. Since it is not a level 4 truck, this semi-autonomous truck requires drivers to handle exiting a highway, docking and driving on back roads. The Freightliner has been giving a green light in Nevada to operate in a testing capacity on the major highways in that state. Why Nevada? For starters, this is one of a handful of states allowing self-driving vehicle licensure according to CNN Money. 



What to Expect for Self-Driving Trucks


While self-driving trucks have quite a few hurdles to jump over before they become mainstream in America, research indicates that level 3 trucks will be introduced as early as 2020 according to Forbes. By 2030, level 3 trucks will make up 5 percent of all vehicle sales. Technologies to expect to become standard features on automated systems include:




  • Safety systems

  • Cameras

  • Connectivity systems

  • Radars

  • Sensors


Level 4, fully autonomous trucks will take the stage by 2035. Furthermore, this will increase the tech network of the logistics industry to include top tech companies. Facebook and Google, in addition to cybersecurity companies and developers of algorithms, will be brought into the transportation fold to handle information technology supporting automated trucks. 



Industry Approval for Automated Trucks


Getting the green light for self-driving trucks in the US will take some serious finagling. First of all, as reported by CNN Money, each state stipulates its own rules and regulations for driving over the interstate in a commercial capacity. Therefore, for a long-haul truck to go to level 4 of automation, every state line crossed would require a new standard of approval for this type of technology. Unfortunately, several states already have laws in place that would in effect prohibit the use of self-driving trucks. For example, truck drivers passing through New York are required by law to keep a hand on the wheel constantly. In multiple states it is against the law to operate an iPad or mobile device while driving, which is one way that self-driving trucks are operated. In order to bring self-driving technology into the long-haul trucking industry, legal teams and logistics providers are going to have to do some serious coordinating to cover several points of contention. 



Societal Approval of Autonomous Trucking


Other concerns for self-driving trucks include the social acceptance of this type of technology. While self-flying planes and self-harvesting combines are already getting the A-OK, self-driving trucks remain a far-out concept for most Americans. It will take some doing in form of public policy and exposure of benefits versus risks before the average person will be accepting of self-driving trucks hauling multiple tons of freight alongside them on their morning commute. Other issues ranging from cyberattacks to mechanical failures will have to be addressed and the public reassured before there will be a general acceptance of this technology in the transportation industry. However, with the right amount of publicity and the improvement of goods distribution thanks to self-driving trucks, consumers will begin to accept automated trucking.


Truckers everywhere across the nation are talking about the biggest change in trucking in the last 75 years. Self-driving trucks are starting to hit the highways, leaving truck drivers in a state of limbo concerning the future of their occupation. While it is true that self-driving big rigs are being utilized in certain capacities, it is not true that truck drivers are going to be kicked to the curb. Self-driving forms of transportation have been around for decades, from self-driving cockpits in airplanes to self-driving combines and tractors. Inform yourself regarding this latest upgrade to the trucking industry so you are up to speed on what to expect as a truck driver. 



History of Self-Driving Trucks


In addition to the use of self-driving equipment for airlines and industrial farms, self-driving trucks have been around for years. However, up until this year, this type of technology was restricted to off-road uses. In addition to self-driving harvesting equipment for farms in the US, self-driving aka autonomous driving technology was utilized in Iraqi war zones and Australian mines. Thanks to the advancements in safety and usability, this technology is making its way onto American roads. 



Different Types of Self-Driving Tractor-Trailers


One of the first things to understand about self-driving trucks that are expected to be used by the US transportation industry is that one size does not fit all. All self-driving trucks do not completely operate themselves. Instead, there are four levels of automation that are in production:




  • Level 1 trucks--driver is in total control of the driving inputs

  • Level 2 trucks--feature semi-autonomous controls via ADAS functions

  • Level 3 trucks--require a truck driver who can switch onto auto-pilot mode during safe driving conditions

  • Level 4 trucks--drive themselves without having a driver behind the wheel, in any type of traffic conditions


Level 2 trucks have already been rolling on highways in the US for the past 5 years. Additionally, level 3 trucks have been progressing in technological advancements quite rapidly in the past few years. As a result, level 4 trucks are expected to be the next big thing in terms of technical achievements. Forbes notes that each increased level of automation increases truck driver benefits and safety features. 



How Self-Driving Trucks can Improve Transportation Industry


Truckers are most likely wondering how self-driving trucks can do a better job than they can when driving and delivering loads. There are a few points to be made here, starting with the current issues facing truck drivers, which include:




  • Shortage of truck drivers due to increased trucking demand and decline in truckers capable of keeping up with the demand

  • Physical strain of truck driving, i.e. general decline in physical health due to excessive job stress

  • Concerns with hours-of-service rules regarding overloading truckers and pushing them beyond their capacity and toward fatigue-related accidents


In order to keep up with the ongoing demand for truck drivers, automated driving affords a new alternative. Using self-driving trucks that are fully automated, trucking companies can increase their capabilities of reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). Additionally, self-driving trucks reduces the physical toil placed on drivers, as well as reduces the number of fatigue-related problems associated with overworked truckers. Through the use of self-driving trucks, truck drivers will have the ability to tackle other work-related activities, such as coordinating their next pickup or handling their logbook. Instead of being stressed due to traffic conditions or adverse weather, truck drivers can allow their automated trucks to tackle the sticky situations, taking the aggravation out of trucking.


The use of self-driving tractor-trailers is reported by Forbes to provide the following benefits to the trucking industry:




  • Reduction of driver fatigue

  • Decrease maintenance costs for tractor-trailers

  • Reduce emissions

  • Decrease congestion on the roadways

  • Decrease the amount of downtime for vehicles and truckers

  • Reduce fuel costs by 4 to 7 percent

  • Decline in traffic fatalities due to driver error or fatigue


The benefits of self-driving trucks are very promising for the trucking industry. However, the risks associated with going semi or fully automated raise alarms for government regulators and insurance companies. Before automated trucks are acceptable on American roadways, several issues will have to be addressed. 



Automated Truck Platooning


Another way that self-driving trucking will increase the abilities of long haul trucking is through platooning. Also referred to as road trains, platooning occurs in the same method as driving closely to improve aerodynamics. Using level 3 and level 4 automated trucks, fleets will be computer programmed to operate in close proximities for the following benefits:




  • Increased fuel efficiency

  • Improve safety of trucks

  • Maintain a more efficient road capacity

  • Tighten the flow of traffic


Several companies are in the works for implementing the concept of platooning in self-driving trucks:




  • Volvo

  • Hino

  • PACCAR

  • Scania


 Effects of Self-Driving Trucks on Truckers


Truckers who are concerned with losing their livelihood due to self-driving trucks can stop fretting. For starters, the main reason that self-driving technology is being considered in the US trucking industry is because truckers simply cannot keep up with the supply and demand of transporting goods. Those truckers who are in the hot seat are experiencing high levels of job stress, reduced quality of life, health complaints and a lack of home time. By implementing some levels of automation, truck drivers will be able to see some relief from the high-stress world of being a trucker working over the road. 



Current Rollouts and Concepts


One trucking company has already brought self-driving trucks into fruition. Daimler Trucks North America is making waves as the first producer of self-driving commercial trucks that are ready to roll on US highways. As reported by Time, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck is autonomous, and it provides the following perks:




  • Offers full control of critical functions when in operation

  • Functions in favorable weather and traffic conditions


This type of technology allows truckers to put their truck in auto-mode when they are cruising in normal conditions. Since it is not a level 4 truck, this semi-autonomous truck requires drivers to handle exiting a highway, docking and driving on back roads. The Freightliner has been giving a green light in Nevada to operate in a testing capacity on the major highways in that state. Why Nevada? For starters, this is one of a handful of states allowing self-driving vehicle licensure according to CNN Money. 



What to Expect for Self-Driving Trucks


While self-driving trucks have quite a few hurdles to jump over before they become mainstream in America, research indicates that level 3 trucks will be introduced as early as 2020 according to Forbes. By 2030, level 3 trucks will make up 5 percent of all vehicle sales. Technologies to expect to become standard features on automated systems include:




  • Safety systems

  • Cameras

  • Connectivity systems

  • Radars

  • Sensors


Level 4, fully autonomous trucks will take the stage by 2035. Furthermore, this will increase the tech network of the logistics industry to include top tech companies. Facebook and Google, in addition to cybersecurity companies and developers of algorithms, will be brought into the transportation fold to handle information technology supporting automated trucks. 



Industry Approval for Automated Trucks


Getting the green light for self-driving trucks in the US will take some serious finagling. First of all, as reported by CNN Money, each state stipulates its own rules and regulations for driving over the interstate in a commercial capacity. Therefore, for a long-haul truck to go to level 4 of automation, every state line crossed would require a new standard of approval for this type of technology. Unfortunately, several states already have laws in place that would in effect prohibit the use of self-driving trucks. For example, truck drivers passing through New York are required by law to keep a hand on the wheel constantly. In multiple states it is against the law to operate an iPad or mobile device while driving, which is one way that self-driving trucks are operated. In order to bring self-driving technology into the long-haul trucking industry, legal teams and logistics providers are going to have to do some serious coordinating to cover several points of contention. 



Societal Approval of Autonomous Trucking


Other concerns for self-driving trucks include the social acceptance of this type of technology. While self-flying planes and self-harvesting combines are already getting the A-OK, self-driving trucks remain a far-out concept for most Americans. It will take some doing in form of public policy and exposure of benefits versus risks before the average person will be accepting of self-driving trucks hauling multiple tons of freight alongside them on their morning commute. Other issues ranging from cyberattacks to mechanical failures will have to be addressed and the public reassured before there will be a general acceptance of this technology in the transportation industry. However, with the right amount of publicity and the improvement of goods distribution thanks to self-driving trucks, consumers will begin to accept automated trucking. Tell us what you think in the comments below.


 


comments powered by Disqus

Featured Trucking Companies

Shaffer Trucking

We are a Top Pay Certified Carrier with Flexible Fleets to meet your needs. Call us today at 800-669-0322 to learn more....

More on this company...

Owner Operator Jobs Available

Find owner operator jobs here! Fill out one multiple company application and find the owner operator jobs you deserve....

More on this company...

Crete Carrier Corporation

We are a Top Pay Certified Carrier with Flexible Fleets to meet your needs. Call us today at 800-998-2221 to learn more....

More on this company...

Barr-Nunn:

Meet Barr-Nunn. No one offers you the same combination of Respect, Practical mile pay, Excellent Benefits, and choices that you’ll find here. Every we...

More on this company...