You’ve heard of self-driving cars, but have you ever heard of a self-driving semi-truck? The demand for autonomous vehicles has increased over the years, as humans tend to be inherently looking for ways to make every possible task hands-free. Are you getting flashbacks to the movie Wall-e yet?
J.B. Hunt announced that they will be collaborating with Waymo to produce autonomous semi-trucks. This development has been in the works for a while, but there is a higher need now; as Akash Sriram of Reuters points out, “U.S. trucking and delivery firms are already struggling with driver shortages, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, difficult working conditions, and an aging workforce.”
What does this mean for truck drivers? Autonomous semi-trucks won’t be taking over the industry any time soon, as testing is still underway. Many safety concerns surround regular self-driving cars. Semis are much larger, require more technology, and pose a more significant safety threat than standard cars. That is why CDL drivers have to go through extensive training before getting behind the wheel. The loss of so many jobs would only hurt the economy. Carriers will still need someone inside the trucks to monitor safety on the road.