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Will Truck Driving Become Automated?


There have been so many changes in the trucking industry especially in the last 10 years. The introduction to electronic logs, air ride trailers, satellite messaging and tracking, crash avoidance systems in trucks and most recently the introduction of automated self-driving trucks. The last one is getting a lot of attention across the industry because of its Star Wars alluring technology. One of the biggest things that keeps coming up over and over is the replacement of drivers with trucks that deliver freight without them. Here’s the real scoop!

Truck Drivers Aren’t Going Anywhere

So, will autonomous vehicles replace truck drivers? The answer is no. Drivers are not going anywhere due to this new technology anytime in our lifetime or the next. The first railroad train was introduced in 1804 as a means to travel long distances with people and goods. Trains became almost completely automated by the mid 1970’s and yet today we still have engineers on every train. We all know that the first plane was invented by the Wright brothers in 1903 and by 1980 most of these commercial planes were full automated to be autonomous. Yet again, today every single commercial flight has two pilots in the cockpit to fly the plane.

What makes both of these modes of transport very interesting is both have extremely low risk of interaction with the general public. Both are prime candidates to be completely autonomous without human involvement but both are still completely mandated to have people in the driver’s seat. A train is on rails that can’t deviate from its projected course and a plane has zero opportunity to make contact with a person that walks across the crosswalk illegally. Trucks on the other hand are among us in our daily lives and in constant situations of potential hazards on our highways and local roads.

Let’s assume for a moment that the technology was strong enough today for complete autonomy, how many years of testing would the FMCSA and DOT require to assure the general public that this was a safe alternative to drivers. Even if that was to come through the governmental stalemate, you have to consider the number of carriers that would be willing to accept this exceptionally high liability of being in an accident with a machine with a computer driving it.

Summary of these facts point to the continuation for the need of drivers and continued training to keep the pipeline coming. Today’s frontline is and will always be the CDL schools that keep the trucks of the future fueled to keep America rolling. The population only continues to grow year over year fueling our need for more trucks to deliver our goods. The thing that we see as the biggest positive for the automated truck is it will allow future drivers to have less stress while driving by removing some of the responsibility of hazard avoidance from their daily lives.

Joining a truck driving school today will give you those opportunities in the future and with pay rates at record levels, there has never been a better time to sign up!


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