Can you imagine driving along on the highway passing an 18 wheeler looking into the cab and not seeing a driver !
That's some of the technology that is coming in the near future. One company that is working on this is called OTTO it now has equipment installed in Volvo semis that are being test vehicles for OTTO. They currently have 7 units that they are testing their system on.
The system right now still requires a driver to be in the cab at all times in case of emergency were the driver can take over control with the push of a big red button.
As long as self driving trucks require a driver to remain on board, driving jobs seem safe for now. The driver will now be able to relax, or take a nap or catch up on the paperwork while otto does the driving making their job less stressful. And while they are dong that they are still getting paid for driving.
There is currently a shortage of drivers in the U.S of about 50,000 drivers and predictions say that a total of nearly 900,000 new drivers will be needed over the next 8 years. Volvo says that they have customers calling us up saying they'll buy 10 new trucks if we provvide them with drivers,too.
Drivers are legally restricted to 11 hours of driving a day and 60 hours a week. Given that a new big rig goes for about $150,000 and taking into account the delays that pulling over for a rest injects into the movement of goods, trucks that can cruise 24/7 could dramatically lower freight costs.
Otto insists that they have no plans to release products intended to operate trucks without a driver in the cab. They are at least a decade away from having trucks with no driver.
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