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Autonomous technologies are continuing to make headlines. A handful of new startups, such as Waymo, as well as most major Class 8 manufacturers, including Paacar, Daimler and Volvo, are already testing autonomous technology. While the technology could be used to improve safety and, potentially, create self-driving vehicles, many within the trucking industry believe drivers will remain necessary.
Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations, compared autonomous technology within the trucking industry to that used in the airline industry. Although auto-pilot technology could fly the plane, pilots must oversee the operations and take over the controls when necessary. “If something goes wrong outside of a catastrophic event, you have a while to deal with that event,” he said while speaking during NATSO Connect 2018. “I can’t imagine at this point the federal government will say to go ahead and take the driver out of the driver’s seat.”
Recognizing the Work Drivers Do
Drivers not only navigate the vehicle on the road, but also perform several critical functions, including conducting pre-trip inspections, fueling the truck and completing paperwork with customers at pick up and deliveries. There are several key areas where drivers likely will remain a key link in the supply chain...