Many people are know that self-driving cars are already being seen on some roads and it may not be long until people have the option of buying a car that drives itself.
However, cars are not the only vehicles to be testing the abilities of robotics and driving. In recent months, testing of autonomous commercial trucks has begun in an effort to address some serious trucking-specific issues. In just a couple years, we could see a dramatic shift in trucking and even a decrease in accidents involving tractor trailers.
According to reports, truck makers have been developing systems that would allow truckers to turn on an autopilot-like feature allowing the trucker to take his or hands off the wheel, eyes of the road and foot off the pedals.
While these systems are still fairly early in testing modes, there are already people making statements about the various issues that automated trucks could address.
To begin with, the systems could reduce the risks of accidents caused by trucker fatigue or distraction. Of course a driver must be in the vehicle and capable of taking control when necessary, but the self-driving automation could be more reliable and safer than a trucker who could lose focus or fail to react to changes in road conditions due to fatigue.
There is also a belief that the technology could ease the strain of the current truck driver shortage. Right now, there is a high demand for truckers and not enough supply. This dynamic can make some companies relax their hiring and training procedures which can lead to untrained or unsupervised truckers behind the wheel.
Further, autonomous trucks could ultimately be better at avoiding collisions than humans, thanks to sophisticated technology that can “see” other vehicles. Humans can be limited in this area and are capable of making mistakes that a computerized system would not.
While it may be several years before autonomous trucks are widely used in Florida, it is certainly interesting to consider all the possible benefits that may be just around corner. Until then, unfortunately, the safety of motorists sharing the road with a commercial vehicle could lie in the hands of that trucker. In the event of a serious trucking accident, it can be crucial to discuss the options for taking legal action with an attorney.