The Future of Trucking: Why Human Truck Drivers Remain Essential Over Driverless Trucks
There has been considerable discussion about autonomous trucks and their potential impact on the trucking sector. However, it is crucial for concerned drivers to not be swayed by sensationalized headlines. While driverless semi-trucks are undoubtedly a part of the future, they are not expected to replace truck drivers anytime soon. Here is a brief overview of driverless semi-trucks and the reasons why human truck drivers will continue to be indispensable.
What is a Driverless Truck?
A driverless truck refers to a semi-truck that possesses a certain degree of autonomy. SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers) has defined six levels of automation specifically for semi-trucks. These levels provide a framework to categorize the varying degrees of autonomy in the industry.
Level 0 represents no automation, while Level 1 involves features like assisted steering and lane departure warnings. Level 5 refers to a fully automated truck capable of driving without a human driver, even in adverse weather conditions. Currently, most companies are implementing automation at Levels 2 and 3, with Level 5 being demonstrated in controlled environments rather than widespread implementation.
Over the past decade, numerous companies have been actively involved in the development of driverless trucks. Prominent companies like Tesla and Waymo (a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google) have dedicated significant resources to self-driving technology. Additionally, there are lesser-known tech companies such as Plus, TuSimple, and Embark that have secured billions of dollars in investor funding for their trucking projects. Despite the substantial financial investments in driverless truck technology, truck drivers need not worry about being replaced.
What Do They Mean for Truck Drivers?
Indeed, it is a common misconception that driverless trucks will lead to the elimination of truck driver jobs. Currently, most companies are testing automation at levels 2 and 3, which means that the trucks still require human intervention and oversight. Even when level 5 autonomous trucks become more prevalent, it will still be necessary to have an experienced driver present in the truck to handle unforeseen situations.
Truck drivers fulfill essential roles beyond simply driving. They are responsible for tasks such as loading and unloading freight, communicating with customers and dispatchers regarding order details, and managing the overall logistics of transportation. These tasks require human skills and interaction, making truck driver jobs secure for the foreseeable future.
What’s the Future for Self-Driving Trucks?
Currently, companies investing in driverless technology are progressing steadily. Some industry experts believe that driverless trucks may become commonplace within the next decade, although this estimate could be overly optimistic.
While prominent companies discuss the implementation of driverless trucks, widespread adoption is still a significant distance away. Many trucking companies, particularly smaller ones, lack the financial resources to integrate this technology into their fleets in the near future. Furthermore, even if and when driverless trucks become more prevalent, trained drivers will continue to be essential in the cab at all times.
Therefore, truck drivers need not spend their time worrying about the imminent arrival of driverless trucks. The technology’s widespread implementation and impact on the industry are still some time away.
And DRS Truck Sale will always help you to buy a classic option, we have you purchase a quality and serviced truck, with ease and without difficulty. Contact us and we will be happy to help you make the right choice, for your business.