Driverless Tractor Trailers? Not Any Time Soon

Google’s self-driving cars have logged more than one million test miles to date. So, will driverless tractor trailers hit our highways in the future? The answer probably is “yes” – but not for decades, or at least not in significant numbers.

 

One driverless big rig, however, recently hit the roads in Nevada as part of a first-ever test of the new technology. Sponsored by a San Francisco start-up called Otto, the driverless truck was filmed cruising the highway with no apparent problems.

 

The big rig is the brainchild of former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, who has been working on automated driving solutions for more than a decade. The Associated Press reports driverless tractor trailers have made significant progress in the last few years. Supporters say they’re less likely to speed, drive in unsafe conditions, and they eliminate issues relating to driver fatigue. But they’re still in the infancy stage of development, and many states have yet to adopt self-driving regulations, making driverless vehicles illegal in those places.

 

Steven Shladover from the University of California’s Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology predicts driverless big rigs won’t proliferate American roads for 20 to 30 years, or more, because it will take that long to convince regulators they are reliable. “I don’t want to be on that highway when nobody is there to take over a truck with 80,000 pounds of cargo,” he adds.

 

How To Earn a CDL To Become a Commercial Driver

So, how will the industry address a driver shortage that the American Trucking Associations predicts could rise to 175,000 in less than 10 years? The old fashioned way – by training new candidates how to operate big rigs with commercial driver’s license (CDL) programs.

 

Approved driver training programs, such as those at Fortis campuses in Forty Fort, PA, Cookeville, TN, and Cuyahoga Falls, OH, can anticipate added student enrollments as trucking companies scramble to fill projected vacancies.

 

If you’re ready to begin your career in commercial driving, contact Fortis today!    

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