The driverless truck is coming, and it’s going to automate millions of jobs
A convoy of self-driving trucks recently drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck.
In addition, once the technology is mature enough to be rolled out commercially, we will also enjoy considerable safety benefits. This year alone more people will be killed in traffic accidents involving trucks than in all domestic airline crashes in the last 45 years combined. At the same time, more truck drivers were killed on the job, 835, than workers in any other occupation in the U.S.
There are currently more than 1.6 million Americans working as truck drivers, making it the most common job in 29 states.
The loss of jobs representing 1 percent of the U.S. workforce will be a devastating blow to the economy. And the adverse consequences won’t end there. Gas stations, highway diners, rest stops, motels and other businesses catering to drivers will struggle to survive without them.
The demonstration in Europe shows that driverless trucking is right around the corner. The primary remaining barriers are regulatory.