Self driving technologies have been around for a couple of years and it’s about time it gets applied to one of the most dangerous professions within the automotive industry: The trucking business.
According to an io9 article on why truck driving is one of the deadliest jobs in America, truckers are expected to work a ton of hours but do so with very little pay:
Truck drivers are expected to drive up to fourteen hours straight a day, receiving roughly ten hours off prior to the beginning of the next shift. Legislation regulating the amount of driving a trucker performs over the course of a day and week does exist, but these rules are commonly bent and broken.
Truckers rarely receive more than one day of work off a week. The chance of dying on the job is extremely high, with deaths of truckers in auto accidents accounting for 12% of all work related deaths in the United States.
All this comes with a paltry average annual salary of just under $38,000. A trucker can easily work 4400 hours a year, coming to an hourly wage of $8.70.
So it’s high time that autonomous driving gets applied to one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, allowing its drivers to properly be rested while also reducing the amount of accidents arising from driver error.
In this company video, Otto, an American self-driving technology company established earlier this year, showcased their self-driving capability to a truck that’s hauling a fully loaded Budweiser cargo. The truck journeyed for 120 miles between Ft. Collins, through Denver, and ending up in Colorado Springs.
This technology is truly impressive and the technology looks to be applicable to existing vehicles as the company is able to retrofit the radars, cameras, and laser sensors to these semi-trucks.
However, we have to wonder whether this type of technology will result in trucking jobs disappearing in the long run, or whether legislators and the Department of Transportation will mandate that every truck be piloted by a capable driver in the event something goes wrong, as can be seen by other self-driving systems gone horribly wrong.