Should truck drivers be concerned about self driving trucks taking their jobs?
While no one can see the future (if you could you wouldn’t be reading this post), we can try to make predictions.
A great question that has been circulating for years now with prospective truck driving candidates is will self driving trucks eventually eliminate the need for truck drivers? Today we’re going to try and shed some light on this, and we’ll start with by saying that no, we do not think this is something truckers really need to be concerned with. While we understand the fear, the prevailing thinking is there several reasons self driving trucks will not eliminate truck drivers.
Let’s start with arguably the biggest factor… truck drivers do way more than just drive their rigs.
From securing the rigs load, ensuring the load is then balanced, adjusting the load accordingly if it isn’t, completing safety logs, loading the load and all the other minutia that occurs on each drive there are no shortage of things a self driving truck can’t or won’t do. As any trucker already knows driving is only one part of actually getting cargo from point A to point B. The customer service aspect is a big part of a trucking that cannot be underestimated.
Beyond this, self driving technology isn’t really close enough yet to replace humans. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, current automation technology sits roughly a 2 or 3 out of 5. As a frame of reference for full self driving automation you would require a 5. While self driving has made significant progress, there are still technical and logistical challenges that need to be addressed before self-driving trucks can be widely deployed.
Then there are the legal and regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome before self-driving trucks can be used on public roads. Governments will need to develop and implement regulations and guidelines for the use of self-driving trucks, and we would be extremely surprised if any of this happened any time soon. It is believed that even when adequate technology is released, it will only be used in selected fields of transport. The current focus seems to be more is on improving road safety with collision avoidance rather than replacing human drivers.
Overall, we think self-driving trucks can potentially revolutionize the transportation industry, but it is likely that they will coexist with human truck drivers for the foreseeable future rather than fully replacing them.