The test runs have already begun. In 2016, an Uber-owned company named
Otto sent its first prototype self-driving truck
down a Colorado highway with a load of beer, hailing the first official trip of an autonomous
truck. Since then, Daimler’s Freightliner “Inspiration”
has made test runs, and a new startup named Maven Ventures hopes to send
its truck “Embark” on test runs soon. Some believe we’ll
start seeing these self-driving trucks regularly on the roads
as early as 2020, possibly fully taking over the trucking industry by
The idea of driverless heavy trucks hurtling down our highways evokes a
sense of fear in some, but many experts believe once the processes have
been refined and the bugs worked out, self-driving trucks will actually
make the roads safer, even as many truck drivers will eventually have to find new forms of
How can a driverless truck be safer than a human-controlled vehicle? Given
the current progress of self-driving technology already achieved—and
even the enhanced safety features in some of our current vehicles like
automatic braking and self-parking—experts believe computer-controlled
vehicles will eliminate the variables of human error, especially driver
fatigue. Between a shortage of drivers on the roads and the pressures
to work long shifts with little rest, driver fatigue has become a leading
cause of trucking accidents in recent years. (We elaborate on some other
truck driver dangers in
this post.) Because autonomous vehicles don’t require rest or breaks, many
believe the lack of human error will ultimately result in fewer accidents.
Are There Any Risks?
New technologies and changing methods always include new types of risk,
even while eliminating old ones. In part 2 of this series, we will look
at some of the potential dangers of self-driving trucks and the steps
industry professionals are taking to be proactive about them.
If you or a loved one is involved in an injury trucking accident, our
Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys
can help. Call our office to learn more.