It’s not yet possible, but in the future, the reality could be that self-driving semitrucks could be on the roads. Is that something the world is really ready for? Some aren’t so sure.
Self-driving cars have a real potential to save lives. Computers can calculate probability in different situations, knowing what to do and how to adjust the vehicle to avoid a collision. However, this isn’t yet a reality, and even the most advanced self-driving car still needs a driver on standby the majority of the time.
What about a semitruck, though? These vehicles are 80,000 pounds instead of only a few thousands like passenger vehicles. They carry loads that could be hazardous or flammable. Is it really safe?
So far, the state of Nevada has allowed testing for a self-driving semi, but the truck still has to have a driver in the cab at all times. The driver might not have to do as much, but he or she must be there in the case of an emergency.
Of course, safety is the biggest concern of having self-driving vehicles of any kind. A truck with no driver could be a target for thieves, or it could have a computer error that leads to a crash. There are many issues that could happen, like tire blowouts or the need for fuel, that could impact the vehicle’s safety and ability to drive without a human behind the controls.
For now, liability falls on a driver, but in the future, how you claim may be different. With self-driving vehicles, laws may have to change.