One of the hottest topics in trucking the past couple of years has been the self-driving truck. We’ve all heard or read about beer trucks driving themselves in Colorado or similar stories. This technological advance is both interesting and a bit worrying to truckers for obvious reasons. No one wants to be obsolete and out of a job.
Fortunately, things may not be as bleak as you may think. Self-driving cars and trucks will be a thing of the future for certain; with the speed at which technology evolves now, probably not even that far into the future. But there are some other factors to consider as well when it comes to self-driving trucks.
Jobs won’t just disappear.
Yes, some drivers may one day be out of jobs because of self-driving trucks. But you have to also wonder what happens when a self-driving truck malfunctions. Tech isn’t perfect and sometimes it breaks down. Even these early tests of self-driving trucks and cars we’ve heard about often had someone in the vehicle to get the route started and standby in case of an error. This is exactly what being a truck driver will be like when we have self-driving trucks.
The role of the trucker will somewhat change instead of die out.
The human aspect will be the backup plan; a driver will be more like a technician, monitoring the truck as it rolls along. This role will be absolutely necessary for safety reasons.
It will probably require a special new kind of training for your drivers.
But you would much rather take the time to invest in that training than go out and hire all new drivers. Plus, mechanics will be more important than ever in maintaining these trucks with their abundance of technology.
Jobs in trucking will change more than they will vanish.
Between the personnel needed to make sure the trucks run correctly and those needed to make repairs and monitor these new trucks, the number probably won’t go down that much. Either way, stuff will still need to be delivered by truck and as you know well, it takes a whole team of people to make that happen.
If you're worried about the future with self-driving trucks, then plan ahead. Get ahead of the curve by staying up to date on the latest developments with this technology. It will not only allow you to make decisions in advance about whether or not your company will plan to buy some of these trucks many years down the road, but it will also get you prepared for how to educate your drivers and support team about that technology.
If the truck drivers of today can be educated about self-driving trucks and and taught how best to adapt their professional skills for the world of ten years from now, you won’t have to worry as much about jobs or having to only trust computers.