Automation has made huge bounds and improved the logistics industry through the development of self-driving trucks. Companies like Google, Tesla, and Foton Philippines have put a considerable amount of time and resource in developing this technology. Despite this, autonomous vehicles are not exempt from their fair share of praise and criticisms alike. Here are some of the pros and cons of self-driving trucks.
Pros of self-driving trucks
- Improved road safety
Although self-driving cars are not yet completely accident-proof, there have been claims that they have seen a significant decrease in accidents in comparison to trucks driven by humans. Some reports even claim up to a 90% decrease in fatalities related to traffic. GPS, computer processing, and sensor software determines how a self-driving truck moves on the road. Compared to human drivers susceptible to falling asleep at the wheel, intoxication, and speeding, driverless trucks prove to be the safer option.
- Reduced road congestion
One of the advantages of automating the driving process is that it greatly reduces the human variables that result in traffic jams. Driverless trucks rely on complex algorithms and on-the-fly calculations to correct and dictate its driving, avoiding any errors in driving. Removing the human driver also allows self-driving trucks to operate at any time, taking advantage of less congested roads during off-peak hours.
While the initial investment in switching to or buying self-driving cars may seem costly at first, pay-off is expected over time through increase in efficiency and reduction of driver wages. Streamlining is also an option, with autonomous trucks only needing one central dispatcher to serve an entire region.
Cons of self-driving trucks
- Loss of Jobs
Truck drivers represent a significant part of the workforce. As the industry evolves, a great number of workers whose jobs have been made obsolete stand to lose their livelihood. There also has been some predictions on how the loss of these jobs might affect the economy since many other industries revolve around truck drivers such as diners, motels, rest stops, and gas stations. It may take a long time before self-driving trucks completely take over the industry, but it will happen eventually.
- Security vulnerabilities
Software are open to vulnerabilities and present a risk of being attacked. A company’s software being hacked is already dangerous enough on its own, but when hunks of steel careening at high speeds rely on said software working at full capacity, being hacked is that much more dangerous.
- New laws and regulations
There are few, if any, laws and regulations that govern the use of self-driving trucks in the country. There still needs to be a considerable amount of research and deliberation needed before self-driving trucks are allowed to operate legally. As it stands, the use of autonomous trucks are on a case-to-case basis, not making their way to highways anytime soon.
With a lot of momentum behind them, self-driving trucks may just be the future of ground delivery. With companies like Tesla, Google, and Foton Philippines leading the way in research and development, self-driving cars may hit the roads sooner than we think.