I’m sure many of you have seen some of the recent headlines proclaiming the coming end of trucking as we know it – the impending doom of massive job loss in the trucking industry:
The following article has 24k shares as of 5/9/16. That’s 23,000 people believing the article’s premise…that truckers are replaceable and because of autonomous trucks, everyone will be a lot safer, happier, and generally better off.
A convoy of self-driving trucks recently drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck. The driverless truck is coming, and its going to automate millions of jobs | TechCrunch
Riiiiiiiiight. And I think they actually believe this! All this shows is how little the average person knows about what a truck driver really does. Most of the headlines we’re reading are both sensational (improved safety, cost savings, etc), and doom and gloom (the eventual elimination of truckers from the equation).
First off, let’s define the levels of autonomous trucks that’s of interest to truck drivers…
Level 3 is a more limited situation where a driver is still needed in the truck, and is expected to be available to take control when necessary. Estimates are that in 20 years or so, 10% of vehicles sold would be Level 3 category. So, when people write stuff like the following, it’s laughable at best.
…That’s 3.5 million people who may lose their jobs once driverless trucks hit the roads in full force… which appears to be in the not-too-distant future. Driverless Trucks Already Being Tested; Three Million-Plus Truck Drivers to Lose Their Jobs Soon | The Daily Sheeple
Level 4 is a fully self-driving vehicle requiring no driver to be present in the truck. The only requirement would be inputting information concerning the trip, destination, etc. There’s no timetable for Level 4, but when Level 4 autonomous trucks DO hit the road, we STILL won’t have the “truck drivers are a thing of the past” scenario. Not even close.
Why? That’s what we’ll be looking at over the next several days. We’ll look at the different types of trucking and driver jobs that autonomous trucks can NOT handle. We’ll also look at the different levels of autonomous trucks, platooning, and what would be the ideal type of hauling for each them. Make no mistake, autonomous trucks ARE coming. But it’ll be a WHILE before they’re implemented. And even when they ARE, we just don’t need to be too worried about it!