Self Driving trucks – the pleasure and the pain
Self-driving trucks are no longer the future. They are the present. They are here!
There will be a reduction of accidents of the road. In 2012 in the US, 330,000 large trucks were involved in crashes that killed nearly 4,000 people, most of them in passenger cars. About 90 percent of those were caused by driver error. Robot trucks will kill far fewer people, if any, because machines don’t get tired or distracted. Machines don’t look at phones instead of the road. Machines don’t drink alcohol or do any kind of drugs or involve any number of things that somehow contribute to the total number of accidents every year involving trucks.
Robot trucks also don’t need salaries. No more need for health insurance either. Self-driving trucks will also never need to stop to rest, for any reason. Routes will take less time to complete.
What does this mean for the 3.5 million truck drivers in America? Will they have jobs ? What will this mean to the local economies dependent on truckers and he othe 5.2 million people employed in the industry. (Insurance , Restaurants, Diners , Motels etc)
Add the development of the hypeloop being able to deliver freight from NY to LA in under 4 hours, and you have an interesting cocktail of cataclysmic unemployment and decimation of industries and in turn small towns dependent on their custom. .
Will these small rural towns close and people move to the cities and find jobs there?
One further important detail to consider is that truck drivers are well-paid. They provide a middle class income of about $40,000 per year. That’s higher than 46% of all tax filers. Truck driving is just about the last job in the country to provide a solid middle class salary without requiring a post-secondary degree.
If we look at the big national picture, we are potentially looking at well over 10 million American workers and their families whose incomes depend entirely or at least partially on the incomes of truck drivers, who are, by the way, extremely well paid and a major contributor to the Tax System!
The replacement of truckers is inevitable. It is not a matter of “if”, it’s only a matter of “when.” No one should be asking what we’re going to do when computers take our jobs. We should all be asking what we get to do once freed from them.
Partial source Huffington Post and Bob Pritchard