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  • Writer's pictureamonahan

Will Self-Driving Trucks Replace CDL Truck Drivers?

The short answer is no. Or at least, not any time soon.

Here's why.

1. Need for humans

As more companies invest in driverless technology, they are still a long way off from trucks running without a human on board. Some scenarios envision drivers taking over the driving at the end of run when there tends to be more city and/or rough terrain which the driverless trucks would not be able to handle. Even at the highest level of automation, trucking companies will still need someone in the truck in case something goes wrong, for loading and unloading duties and maintaining good customer communication.

2. Efficiency and business growth

An increase in self-driving trucks would also increase efficiency which would drive down the cost of freight increasing demand and business. That increase in business would require more people to deliver locally and the need for drivers would be greater.

3. High Cost of Self-Driving Trucks

Most trucking companies, especially the smaller ones, can't afford the high cost for the technology and new equipment so they will continue to need skilled drivers.

4. Remaining Safety Issues

Despite all of the money and research going into self-driving trucks, there are still many questions and concerns that need to be answered regarding the safety of this technology. Much of the research has been done on self-driving cars but trucks, especially semi-tractor trailers, have different challenges such as:

  • Trucks are much larger and lack the ability to maneuver around a potential accident like a car can.

  • Trucks take a lot longer to come to a complete stop when braking, and there isn’t a lot of room to avoid cars or people on the side of the road.

  • City settings pose problems due to frequent stops, turns and tight spaces.

  • Potential problems with sensors, including radars and cameras, being on top of the truck's cab. They can be blinded by the sun and have issues distinguishing between cars and large signs as well as become impaired during inclement weather.

There are too many things that can potentially go wrong for there to not be a human in the truck when it’s operating on the road. The major change that will be seen with self-driving trucks is that drivers will not be expected to do as much manual driving, which could actually be seen as a benefit. In that way, self-driving trucks will complement humans not replace them. This would allow more flexibility for drivers and also more at-home time.

At Carleton Transport, our goal is to create calm in the chaos of the trucking industry while maintaining driver safety. If you’re interested in hearing more about our current driving opportunities, call 402-332-0260 to speak with our recruiter. Or, visit our website at today.



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