On this blog, we’ve written about self-driving cars such as the Google car. In addition to autonomous vehicles, though, truck makers are also working on making autonomous commercial trucks, and some claim that these trucks could help prevent car and truck collisions in Homestead and other cities.
Companies such as Volvo Trucks and Scania have been working on technology that would build self-driving tractor trailers and big rigs while companies such as Scania, Caterpillar, and Komatsu have been working on designs for autonomous vehicles such as dumpsters and diggers. In 2012, Volvo Trucks launched a type of autonomous vehicle platooning demonstration on public roads. The platooning self-driving trucks still rely on a truck driver, but that truck driver controls not only his or her own vehicle but also uses a digital system to control the braking, speed, and steering of two or more self-driving trucks behind him or her. Now, a new project has been announced to develop the laws and technology needed to put these types of truck trains on roads. Some experts predict this type of truck platooning could be allowed in the UK within the decade.
If this type of technology ever comes to the US, will it have economic and safety implications? Will it help to reduce the number of truck and car accidents in Homestead and across the country?
So far, in the UK, truckers have already noted their concerns about the number of jobs that self-driving trucks could cost. Economic analysts, though, have stated that the move could slash transportation costs and boost economies dramatically.
The European Union has already allowed and even demanded some types of technology that take some control from driver’s hands. For example, the EU has made advanced emergency braking systems (AEBS) mandatory for all new trucks that will be on the roads in 2018. These brakes can act without driver input to avoid or prevent crashes.
Eventually, analysts say that the aim may be for fully autonomous commercial trucks, but the semi-driverless platooning trucks may become a reality very soon in Europe. Most experts agree that driverless commercial trucks will be on the roads before the widespread use of autonomous cars. Partly, this is because truck carriers may be more willing than car buyers to invest in the technology because of the huge financial gains it can bring.
Safety experts and truck manufacturers claim that driverless trucks can be much safer than traditional trucking since there is less reliance on human drivers, who are subject to driver error. Issues such as driver fatigue are not an issue with self-driving trucks.
Critics, however, note that platooning will still rely on human drivers and any errors that these drivers make could create truly catastrophic accidents as they will involve multiple large commercial trucks. In addition, critics note that the technology has to be completely reliable, since the risks with larger commercial trucks – especially those carrying dangerous goods or hazardous materials – are so high. Despite the concerns, however, many experts agree that driverless trucks and cars are the future and the question is when, rather than if, these vehicles will dominate the roads.
What about you – do you believe that autonomous trucks will eventually help prevent traffic crashes in Homestead?
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, you can always reach the full service law firm of Flaxman Law Group for a free case consultation.