While self-driving vehicles once seemed like something from the distant future, more and more companies are adopting this form of technology and integrating it into their vehicles. If you haven’t heard, Uber has already created a fleet of self-driving vehicles that have had the opportunity to get out on the roadways. Uber even announced just a few days ago that they would begin self-driving truck operations in Arizona. And they aren’t the only ones who are in the race to manufacture self-driving vehicles. In recent news, Starsky Robotics announced that they have “completed a seven-mile drive without a human in the vehicle,” Uber’s self-driving truck that had an individual riding inside, serving as a backup if needed [Source: CNN].
It was mid-February when Starsky conducted a test on a closed portion of Route 833 in Hendry County, FL. There was no traffic at the time the test was conducted as the vehicles aren’t quite ready to share the roadway just yet. What the company learned from the test was that the 20,000-pound vehicle was able to drive 35 mph for seven miles. Starsky has been recognized as “the first company to publicly test an empty cabin for autonomous trucks.” The company is looking at being able to make a delivery without a human present by the end of this year.
Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, CEO of Starsky Robotics, said that with the current regulations, the autonomous trucks would be able to operate in states such as Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. But, before the trucks can cross the state line, more regulations are needed.
What are some of the pros and cons these autonomous trucks carry?
Aside from helping reduce the number of commercial truck accidents that are occurring, these trucks can help get deliveries done more efficiently. Hendry County commissioner Charles Chapman said that the “self-driving trucks could make it easier for his airport to receive food deliveries from Central and South America for local businesses.”
But, with the implementation of new technology comes risks. There have been a number of reported accidents involving autonomous vehicles, Uber making the headline for the most recent incident that transpired in Tempe, AZ. Aside from companies working out the kinks to help prevent an accident, Starsky experienced a problem of their own. The day before they conducted the test run, the “drive was aborted after the power accidentally went out at Starsky’s teleoperations center in Plantation, FL. Luckily, the truck was programmed to stop itself if it ever lost connection with the center.
While we can anticipate some great outcomes from autonomous trucks, Missy Cummings who is an engineering professor at Duke University made a valid point. She said, “When CEO’s put their own kids in a driverless car and let it take their own kids off without anyone in the car, that’s how you know when they’re ready.” While many critics see some potential hazards with self-driving vehicles as they believe the technology might be rushed to the public, only more test runs will tell just how close we are to implementing autonomous vehicles into our everyday lives.
Until then, we will still have truckers behind the wheel of these commercial vehicles transporting goods to and from place to place. And unfortunately, there is a high chance truck collision will still be occurring.
If you are the victim of a truck accident, whether you were behind the wheel of the truck or a passenger vehicle car, the Dallas truck crash lawyers at Ferrer, Piorot & Wansbrough are available to assist with your case. You may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation for the injuries you have sustained and these attorneys are the professionals who can best determine how much this would be.
You can reach Ferrer, Piorot & Wansbrough at:
2603 Oak Lawn, Suite 300
Dallas TX 75219