Is automation a threat to drivers?

The automation of truck drivers is becoming increasingly a part of our conversations and reality. Many have had concerns about these trucks, but American Trucking Association President Chris Spear believes otherwise. As reported by TransportTopics he says, “I’m not threatened by it because of where our economy, where our country and where our industry are headed…It’s all about growth. Right now, one in 16 jobs in the United States is trucking related”. Spear isn’t wrong, much of what our everyday lives consists of someone having to drive a truck for us to access those things.

He recognizes that the trucking industry is at a pivotal moment regarding technology with many questions attached to those technologies. Regardless of the question in play, the technology no longer in theory but in practice. There have been tests and deployments of automated trucks recently. Spear himself said he rode in one, it’s real guys! We all know the high demand in truck drivers has always been high, with this new technology hopefully the supply and demand can be met without carriers having to worry about having enough drivers.

The ATA estimates that the country is short by about “81,000 truck drivers and that figure could grow to 160,000 by 2030 if recruitment efforts are not expanded”.

Spear emphasizes the growth we will see, “it’s occurring in localities and regions – it’s already happening. And the value proposition isn’t going to be based on displacing our existing workforce. Why would it, when [we’re] short 81,000 drivers already? That’s only going to continue to increase as we grow our economy and demands continue to rise”. These trucks could potentially help save the industry. What do you think?