Will Self-Driving Trucks Replace Truck Drivers?

Are robots really going to take your job?

It’s a question that’s rooted in entertainment as much as reality. But it’s a question that many truck drivers are thinking about as companies continue to develop self-driving trucks.

Sometimes it’s assumed that automated trucks will be replacing human truck drivers in the near future, but many experts are now challenging that assumption. In fact, some experts are even predicting that self-driving trucks will increase demand for truck drivers.

Let’s take a look at the relationship between automation and the trucking industry and what we can expect in the future.

 

Safety remains a priority for all trucking companies.

The notion that trucks will be “driverless” in the near future is misleading. While autonomous technology will be used to assist drivers, it will still require the oversight and management of a human driver.

Those predicting major layoffs oversimplify the role of the truck driver.

The main goal of the truck driver is to safely and efficiently transport freight, but there’s more to the job than sitting behind the wheel on open highways. Truck drivers are often responsible for routine maintenance, on-the-fly logistics decisions, and navigating complex traffic centers. Replacing truck drivers with automated trucks is more complicated than many outlets have considered.

 

Self-driving trucks will support drivers – not replace them.

Driving a truck can be physically and emotionally demanding, and automation can be used to improve the driver experience. Automated trucks could, for example, take over for long stretches of common highway routes, allowing drivers to rest. These types of improvements would increase efficiency, but more importantly, ensure the safety and health of the drivers themselves.

Demand for truck drivers will increase.

While predictions of driver layoffs have become popular, studies have indicated that these predictions are exaggerated or misguided. Uber, which has invested in automated trucks, recently concluded the exact opposite of many predictions – that the demand for drivers will actually increase as operations become more efficient and business expands.

 

Automation will certainly affect the trucking industry, but it’s not likely to replace human drivers any time soon. There are still many issues to iron out before self-driving trucks take off as well. As carriers adopt automation, it’s more likely that these technologies improve business efficiency and the overall experience for drivers.

As the industry shifts, truck drivers and aspiring truck drivers will need to respond accordingly, making instructional programs like Truck Driver Institute more important than ever. For more information on how Truck Driver Institute can prepare you for a career in the trucking industry, call us at 800-848-7364!