Driverless trucks are precisely as described; trucks that don’t have a driver. They run on autonomous technology, the same type of technology we see in many modern cars. Their purpose is to increase convenience in the commercial world, but some are concerned about the safety of these vehicles.
More to the point, will driverless cars improve road safety for other drivers, or will it make things worse?
The critical concern is that trucks are already at fault for numerous accidents on the roads today. Not only that, but they tend to be involved in more severe auto accidents as well. In fact, the chances of personal injury and wrongful death are much higher when a truck is involved in a crash. They’re larger, they carry more weight, which means they can utterly destroy a regular car and put the human inside at risk. Two small vehicles colliding at the same speed will never create as much destruction as a truck and a small car hitting each other.
Consequently, if trucks already cause accidents, then won’t driverless trucks create more of a risk? There’s no human involved to try and correct things at the last minute, which can be the difference between a fatal accident and one that only involves vehicle damage. How can you truly trust a truck to drive itself on a busy highway? All it takes is one little technological malfunction for an accident to happen, and there’s no telling the destruction it could cause.
The argument in favor of driverless trucks bringing more safety for other drivers is that they’re used differently to regular trucks. There’s already talk of developing new lanes for these trucks to go down, almost like a tram path in the street. This helps keep them separate from the rest of the highway, which lowers the risk of trucking accidents.
Along with this, there’s the point that driverless trucks are being made for specific purposes. Instead of driving a long-haul journey, they’re programmed to travel between two particular points and provide a service for a company. This keeps them away from a lot of the action and almost confines them to a commercial space.
Lastly, these vehicles aren’t for the public domain, which means the technological limits don’t apply. Some companies have to hold back on the auto tech they use as it makes a vehicle too expensive for public consumers. But, big corporations are the ones buying these trucks, meaning the price isn’t always an object. As such, they’re kitted out with the best safety tech around, making them safer than most cars on the roads!
So, weighing everything up, are driverless trucks going to improve road safety for other drivers? It’s a tricky thing to predict as you’re almost assuming that the technology will either succeed or fail. As long as everything works, then they could definitely improve road safety by getting rid of human errors made by truck drivers. Blind spots would no longer be a thing thanks to various motion sensors, which could reduce accidents. It’s definitely something that can work, but only if the technology is 100% nailed down and tested to perfection.