Driverless Trucks May End the Driver Shortage Quickly

November 3, 2015

There is currently a big shortage in the number of truck drivers needed to haul loads. These loads are getting pushed back, which makes stores have to wait longer to get the products they need to sell to customers. The holiday season is making this shortage even more pronounced than usual. Most truck drivers are feeling secure in their jobs than before, but the entire transportation system may be turned upside down soon. Here at Trucker-to-Trucker, we want to make sure that everyone in the transportation industry is aware of the changes to the trucking industry that are coming quickly.

Enter Driverless Trucks

It may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but entire fleets of trucks that can drive themselves are not far in the future. Self-driving trucks are being tested in the United States, as well as Germany and other parts of the world. Wolfgang Bernhard, a Daimler executive, is the man behind the current driverless truck testing. He worked with Brian Sandoval, the Governor of Nevada, to test a driverless truck in Nevada on May 6, 2015. He also tested a driverless lorry in Germany at the beginning of October.

Drivers are Still Needed As of Now

Daimler executives say that the testing phase will be about a decade long and the trucks will be tested for a minimum of a million miles before they will be consider putting them on the roads commercially. As of now, the testing requires that a qualified driver be in the truck all the time. The truck can drive itself, but will signal an alert to the driver if help is necessary. The truck will pull over on its own if there is no driver or if the driver does not respond. The goal is for the driverless technology to reach a point in which a driver is no longer required. The transportation industry is expected to change substantially within the next ten years or so. According to predictions by Morgan Stanley, the capability of cars and trucks to drive themselves completely will be available by 2022. They believe that driverless vehicles will hit the mass market by 2026. Other research groups predict the advent of mass market driverless vehicles any time between 2025 and 2035. Most believe that driverless vehicles will become common, it's only a matter of when.

The Affect of Driverless Trucks on Dealerships

There is currently little known about how driverless trucks will affect dealerships, but industry experts believe that trucking companies will be quick to embrace the benefits of driverless vehicles. It's believed that driverless truck sales will skyrocket in the next ten years or so. One thing that trucking dealerships will likely need to do is make sure that their maintenance and repair technicians are fully trained to work on the driverless vehicle systems. Another things that dealerships can do ahead of the advent of self-driving trucks is educate their sales staff about these vehicles so that they will be prepared to answer any questions that the trucking companies have.

We are interested in hearing your thoughts on the advent of driverless trucks. Leave a comment to let us know what you think the future holds, as well as the affect it will have on the trucking industry.

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