Next time you pass an 18-wheeler on I-5, check to see if the driver is taking a nap! Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but could be in the cards in coming years.
Freightliner and Daimler recently unveiled the first self-driving commercial truck, licensed in the State of Nevada. What does this unveiling mean for the state of Oregon, where there were more than 21,000 heavy and tractor-trailer drivers in 2012, and almost 2,000 online ads for truckers placed just last month?
Probably not a whole lot just yet...
According to Freightliner, the most important element of the self-driving truck is the human element. Although the truck can operate autonomously on the highway, there is still need for a human behind the wheel. The driver is responsible for exits and on-ramps, as well as unforeseen weather difficulties.
In fact, according to Freightliner and CNET, the system is most comparable to the autopilot system on an airplane.
While drivers aren't being replaced yet, the benefits of the self-driving truck could include increased fuel economy and fewer accidents.