One of the biggest problems facing self-driving trucks has little to do with the technology

driverless truck

Tesla, Otto, and other tech firms are developing autonomous trucks.
Legal experts and trucking analysts worry that current liability laws aren’t adapting to self-driving trucks.
Current laws don’t allow a truck manufacturer to be sued if it designed or manufactured a truck that kills someone.

Tesla, Otto, and other companies have been developing driverless vehicles for years, with Mercedez-Benz placing a semi-autonomous truck on the road in 2015.

Tech leaders and financiers alike are confident that self-driving trucks will become the norm as early as the next decade, phasing out around 1.8 million truck driving jobs and saving the industry an estimated $300 billion.

As for the actual truck drivers and those who analyze the industry, many are surprisingly nonchalant. They’re skeptical that this much-hyped technology has any looming effect.

“I think we’re actually still a pretty long way from that technology being fully baked,” Andrew Lynch, the cofounder and president of Columbus-based supply-chain company Zipline Logistics, told Business Insider.

“We’re not even close to prepared,” Lynch said, for those trucks to function on the highway — a pre-existing system that’s clogged with human drivers.

Donald Broughton, the managing partner of transportation analysis firm Broughton Capital, said it’s true that self-driving trucks won’t be barreling down the highway in the next five years.

But it’s not just because of kinks in the technology — it’s also because of legal complications.

‘We have to change the liability law’

There’s no clear path to suing a self-driving truck who hits and kills those outside of the truck. In 2016, 3,326 passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians died in large truck crashes. (Around 80% of car-truck crashes were caused by the passenger vehicles, not the truck.)

In cases where the trucker …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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