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Autonomous Trucks Have the Potential to Save Lives on Georgia’s Roads

When most people think of self-driving vehicles, their mind turns to Google’s small fleet of autonomous cars that are mostly confined to the roadways of California. While the technology is still costly, the truth is that self-driving vehicles are already considered safer than the human drivers who cause more than 30,000 deaths on American roadways each year. And those autonomous vehicles may soon include more than cars: some Google engineers have split off to focus on the commercial transportation industry.

Their new business, called Otto, is aiming to change the way trucking works by allowing all or most truck driving to become automated in the near future. Otto’s goal is to bring their product to the market as quickly as possible. Trucking companies are expected to adopt this technology more quickly than consumers because they can afford it — or rather, they can’t afford not to adopt it.

The costs of human drivers

Human truck drivers are expensive because they get distracted and wreck. They get tired or drunk and wreck. They need bathroom breaks. In fact, they need lots of breaks — to help avoid accidents, the government mandates daily and weekly breaks for truckers and limits their hours on the road drastically. Like ships and taxis, trucks only make money for their owners when they are moving. Every time a truck is parked so the operator can sleep or rest, money is lost.

Compared to human drivers, robots are more fuel-efficient, more cautious, and less likely to want to be home on weekends to see their families. While we may still be decades away from having automated cars take over, it is possible that we may see a decline in accidents due to the rise of self-driving trucks by the end of this decade.

Until our roads are fully automated, people will be involved in truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck with a commercial vehicle in Georgia, speak with the Atlanta attorneys at McMenamy Law LLC to learn about your rights.