Truck makers are creating future commercial vehicles that will be safer, more aerodynamic, and more fuel-efficient. Walmart, for example, unveiled plans for its WAVE (Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience) in early 2014. The trucks are more aerodynamic to be more fuel efficient. One of the more unusual features is that truckers in this vehicle are placed in the center of the cab for maximum efficiency. Walmart has not commented whether this might increase safety by changing how much of the road drivers can see.
Freightliner is another manufacturer investing in future truck designs. Among the features that future trucks will have are smart technology, lighter construction materials, and better mapping of expected fuel usage. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, is investing more heavily in autonomous commercial vehicles.
Truck Designs to Change the Future of Driving
According to a report by consultants Roland Berger, the newest truck designs and technology are expected to have an impact on the industry as a whole – and possibly much sooner than we expect. The company forecasts that as early as 2025 the focus on driverless vehicles will eventually make trucking “practically” an obsolete profession.
There are some signs that the future is already here. Some mining companies are currently using autonomous vehicles in limited numbers to move heavy materials between dig sites. By 2025, experts predict that heavy trucks on our roads will become far more common.
While trucking companies are slow to introduce some new technologies into their fleets, industry insiders expect that autonomous big rigs and tractor trailers will be much more appealing to companies. They can help carriers potentially save on labor costs and fuel costs. They also have the potential to stop accidents. With up to 90% of all traffic accidents attributed to human error, according to some experts, taking drivers out of the equation entirely could potentially help reduce injury, fatalities, and legal action (not to mention insurance costs for truck carriers).
A Slow Introduction of Technology
Already, there are some signs that driverless technology is becoming more mainstream. As of 2015, all new trucks registered in the European Union are required to have lane departure warning technology. By 2018, they will be required to have newer emergency braking systems that allow the technology to take over if a driver fails to stop a collision.
Although advocates claim that the new technology will help prevent accidents, reduce pollution, and make delivery more efficient, there are some legal questions and logistical questions about future trucks. Specifically, if driverless cars and trucks are involved in a crash in Miami or another city, who will be held liable? Where will injured victims be able to turn to get compensation?
For now, anyone injured in a truck accident may have the option to pursue legal action if their collision was caused by a wrongful act or by negligence. The attorneys at Flaxman Law Group have been standing by injured plaintiffs for years. Through our offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami we offer a full range of legal services and representation to clients across South Florida. If you have been injured, do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free case review.