In 2016, an autonomous Otto truck made a 125-mile journey across Colorado to deliver a load of beer. Amazon is apparently working to launch its own version of the Uber Freight business. Currently, Uber Freight is in a testing stage with plans to fully launch in 2017. Although Amazon hasn’t said when it will debut its truck driving service, the media has speculated that it will likely launch around the same time as Uber Freight.
Also in 2016, a convoy of semi-autonomous trucks trekked 1,200 miles across Europe, hauling freight in a test drive to determine how the semis handled their route. Trucking experts say fully automated semis are still a long way off; however, driverless trucks are definitely not science fiction.
“There have been several accidents involving autonomous vehicles. Over the past year, a test driver in an autonomous vehicle was killed when the vehicle’s computer system couldn’t distinguish the side of a semi-truck trailer from the sky,” said Amy Witherite, co-founder and principal of personal injury law firm, Witherite Law Group. “These kinds of accidents demonstrate why the idea of driverless semis is concerning. A semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. With a computer in charge, there is a potential for serious accidents if the computer makes an error a human driver would recognize and correct.”
On the other hand, proponents of autonomous semi-trucks point out that human error is responsible for the majority of trucking accidents. Distractions and fatigue are two of the top causes of truck accidents. By removing the need for sleep, and the temptation to glance at an email or text, driverless trucking advocates say the industry could reduce the number of serious and fatal semi-truck accidents.
If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, you should discuss your case with an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer right away.