The trucking industry is in a constant state of evolution, all thanks to technology. Technological advancements are sweeping changes in how carriers will operate in the coming years.
Of all the innovations the trucking industry has witnessed, the rise of self-driving trucks has piqued the interest of carriers and owner-operators. Aurora and Kodiak Robotics have ambitious plans to run autonomous trucks in the U.S. in 2024.
The global autonomous truck market is valued at $460 million in 2024. However, it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.4% and reach $1,550 million by 2030. Factors such as the shortage of drivers, the rise of road accidents, and the increasing need for feature-rich yet efficient modern trucks are expected to drive the market’s growth.
Self-driving big rigs promise to bring greater efficiency to the trucking industry, but the trucking industry is concerned about their introduction.
Here, we’ll briefly touch upon what self-driving trucks are and let out things that you must know about autonomous trucks.
What are Self-Driving Trucks?
Self-driving trucks, also known as autonomous trucks, have been dubbed the most significant technology on the horizon. As autonomous vehicle (AV) technology uses artificial intelligence and advanced sensors, self-driving trucks are likely to minimize the risk of accidents. This technology is anticipated to have a near-perfect safety record.
In the United States, 168,320 truck accidents occurred in 2022, of which 4,766 crashes were fatal. Texas, California, and Florida were the top three states with the most truck accidents. The rates of truck accidents were also high in Missouri and Indiana.
Autonomous trucks could drastically reduce the number of accidents that occur. That’s because most auto accidents are caused by driver error. As self-driving trucks minimize the need for human drivers, they reduce the risks of accidents associated with human error.
Nevertheless, a lot of work is needed to perfect the self-driving technology to ensure it functions properly on highways in inclement weather.
3 Things You Must Know About Self-Driving Trucks
Here, we’ll discuss three things that you should know about autonomous trucks:
1. Autonomous Trucks Aren’t Immune to Accidents
Self-driving trucks are equipped with impressive sensor systems, which monitor the surroundings and detect obstacles. This real-time data helps trucks plan their paths safely.
Despite being outfitted with advanced technologies and sensors, autonomous trucks aren’t immune to accidents.
A 2022 summary report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that 392 Level 2 autonomous vehicles were involved in vehicle crashes. Level 2 vehicles aren’t fully but partially autonomous with features like automatic braking and corrective steering.
Tesla, the American Honda Motor Company, and Subaru are the companies that reported the most Level 2 crashes.
While truck accidents are prevalent throughout the country, they are a matter of concern in Missouri. In an 18-hour assessment, it was revealed that over 11,000 vehicles passed through a high-risk road in Missouri that averaged three and a half crashes daily.
The assessment observed that 60% of drivers were speeding and 6.5% of drivers were using their phones while driving, which is more than twice the national average. It further revealed that under 5.5% of drivers were engaged in two risky behaviors at the same time.
Unlike a typical truck accident claim, figuring out the at-fault party in self-driving truck accidents isn’t easy. From the person behind the wheel to the car technology designer, there are multiple defendants in a truck accident lawsuit.
Hiring a lawyer specializing in truck accident lawsuits will be the best bet. Irrespective of whichever city you live in, finding a lawyer won’t be too much of a challenge.
Whether you live in St. Louis, Missouri, or Miami, Florida, experienced lawyers are practicing across the country. You can easily find one online. For St. Louis residents, searching for the best St. Louis trucking accident lawyer will bring forth numerous options. Likewise, if you reside in Florida, enter your city name and hit enter. Google will display tons of options on your screen.
When hiring a trucking accident lawyer, TorHoerman Law advises plaintiffs to consider their experience, as they will be able to help them win the compensation they deserve.
2. Self-Driving Trucks Have the Potential to Revolutionize Supply Chain Operations
As autonomous trucks minimize the need for human drivers, they could speed up supply chains. These trucks run without taking breaks, which is why they will be able to deliver inventory potentially faster than human drivers.
Truckers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours after taking a break for 10 hours under Federal rules. However, autonomous trucks aren’t subject to such limitations, meaning they can run for 24 hours. This could be especially beneficial for merchants and restaurants that rely on timely delivery of perishable commodities such as fresh food.
A driverless vehicle startup, Gatik, which partnered with Walmart to deliver groceries in Arkansas, has been completing driverless trips and experiencing an uptick in demand. Gatik’s new clients range from grocery delivery and consumer electronics to pharmaceuticals.
3. Last-Mile Delivery Will Require Human Drivers
Self-driving trucks can only drive to the customer’s location. They cannot deliver products to their doorstep. Human drivers will be needed for last-mile delivery. That means autonomous trucks won’t leave drivers jobless anytime soon.
Despite opting for self-driving trucks, human drivers will be needed to perform non-driving tasks. These include searching for every customer’s apartment, ensuring the package doesn’t get damaged, and deciding on a safe location to place the package.
In a nutshell, autonomous trucks are all set to revolutionize the transportation industry. It’s easy to see why: they minimize driver-related errors, can operate during off-peak hours, and move around the clock without rest.
Though safer than manual trucks, self-driving trucks are prone to accidents. As technology evolves, we are sure manufacturers will leave no stone unturned to make their trucks as safe as possible.