It’s no secret that there are self-driving cars being tested by companies like Google as we speak. The concept of the entire driving experience becoming a robotic one is still in the distant future. However, many new drivers want to know: Will autonomous trucks put me out of a job?
Not so fast…
Not Yet on the Market
Next consider that self-driving cars, while being tested, are still not on the market for the mainstream consumer to purchase. As a matter of fact, the company Waymo is just beginning to prepare to launch their first fleet of self-driving cars to the public. However, self-driving cars are likely not to be taking off for quite some time. Currently, in polls done by Waymo, only 21% of people say they are willing to ride in a driverless car. A lot more trust has to be built for this to take off.
What About Self-Driving Trucks?
While Waymo has self-driving cars at its forefront, it is also working on self-driving semi-trucks and other vehicles. Those, however, are in the much more distant future and are not fully automatic. These trucks are nowhere near ready to be used at a state, much less a national level. They will still require human intervention in certain conditions such as rainy weather or icy roads. Humans will also have to assist or perform many challenging maneuvers such as backing up and doing 3-point turns.
This means that, or the foreseeable future, humans will still have to be in the vehicle to handle the more challenging maneuvers. And anything else that may go wrong.
The Automated Vehicle Race
Other companies developing self-driving cars include 19 other companies such as Toyota, Google, Tesla, and many others. Most companies have not given formal deadlines for their projects but hope to have the technology ready to release by 2020 or 2021. However, these are only cars and SUV-type vehicles.
Automated semi-trucks and long-hauling equipment are much further off in the future than that. Very few companies have even begun to think about or work on such technology for larger vehicles.
Driverless trucks are not in our near future. For now, truck drivers will continue to do just that – drive. Trucking is an in-demand career that will continue to become more in-demand as consumer demand continues to rise. It’s a great career to get into with plenty of benefits and job security for the foreseeable future.
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