While many drivers seem to focus on the impact of autonomous driving for consumer vehicles, some experts indicate the largest immediate impact may be in commercial trucking. Autonomous trucking has its unique obstacles to overcome including managing the additional size and mass of the trailer, navigating traffic at high speeds and recognizing dangerous situations outside of its longer braking distances. However, the payoff could be great and immediate for trucking companies looking to make their fleet more efficient. Additional safety features to aid drivers may reduce accidents, leading to fewer injuries as well as fuel-efficient driving. Platooning is a great example of using safety features to allow multiple trucks to drive in sync with one another and reduce drag by following close behind. With that in mind, the truck safety features allowing this type of behavior must be precise and well tested.
Trucking accidents can cause life-changing injuries to anyone involved. The high speeds of highway driving coupled with several additional tons of cargo make traumatic injuries almost inevitable when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle or another truck. To cause injuries, truck accidents do not need to be high speed. A collision in a parking lot or city street can easily injure the truck driver or anyone involved. While autonomous driving may not be at the stage to safely operate a large commercial vehicle, tools can be used to make truck driving safe for everyone. Blind spot detection and lane drifting alerts can help truck drivers manage their vehicle and distances to surrounding vehicles. Every step the industry takes to make truck driving safer makes our highways and roads safer as well.