As if trucks’ massive size and power are not intimidating enough, drivers have also been encountering driverless trucks on Texas roads in recent years.
The state has been attracting autonomous trucking companies because of its lean regulations, suitable climate for the technology’s sensors and numerous trucks already inundating the highways.
However, as Texas leads in the list of large truck fatalities with 806 deaths in 2021, this experimental pursuit draws mixed reactions on how safe it truly is.
Self-driving trucks offer a solution to the industry’s labor shortage, increased freight demand and a surge of retirements. While this innovation may have a cost-effective approach to these issues, critics are concerned about the potential trade-offs.
- Lack of human intuition: As companies are still in the testing phase, some worry that remote supervision may not be enough. There is still insufficient data to show how driverless trucks can independently react to unpredictable scenarios or conditions as responsible human drivers would.
- Malfunctioning systems: Roadways and construction zones are ever-evolving. Maps may be defective and fail to reflect updates, which can leave the vehicle making hazardous turns or movements.
- Security breaches: Driverless trucks depend on software. This setup makes them susceptible to bad actors who infiltrate controls to their advantage.
As in all types of progress, the value of self-driving trucks is still up for debate. It takes a collective effort from businesses, developers, policymakers, and trucking and insurance companies to weigh both sides.
Unique safety issues
Driverless trucks are bound to significantly shape the future of transport. However, if they eventually go nationwide, exceptional safety concerns may arise. When an accident involving an autonomous truck happens, it may spur a new wave of legal liability complexities. More parties may be part of a claim. Thus, driverless or not, victims can process a truck crash aftermath with a counsel ready to fight for their rights and interests.