Self-driving trucks make so much sense already that it’s a scary time to be one of the millions of Americans who depends on the trucking economy.
There are 3.5 million truck drivers in America, 5.2 million people who have non-driving roles in the trucking industry, and millions more who depend on trucking for a living, including people who work at truck stops and gas stations. Why is this important particularly? Because that’s an awful lot of people who depend on an industry that’s likely to employ far less people in the future.
This future is already upon us. Trucks are already going autonomous. Just this May, Daimler launched the “Inspiration Truck,” the first self-driving 18-wheeler licensed to be tested on the open road. Other manufacturers are working on similar products, notably Volvo, which has tested “platooning,” a practice in which groups of unmanned vehicles are led by one lead vehicle. Also, truckers are relatively expensive, earning an average of $40,000 a year, which makes their jobs a juicy target for automation. And, trucks often drive on long, relatively empty roads, which makes them easier to automate than vehicles that have to navigate city environments.
The idea that robots could take away jobs from large numbers of Americans seems theoretical until you consider actual jobs that could be threatened in one industry like trucking. Then, it all becomes a lot more scary. “We are facing the decimation of entire small town economies, a disruption the likes of which we haven’t seen since the construction of the interstate highway system itself bypassed entire towns,” says New Orleans writer Scott Santens, in a recent post on Medium.
Santens brings together a lot of evidence to back up his claim, starting with the fact that truck driving is the biggest source of employment is more than half of U.S. states.
The Latest on: Robots and jobs
via Google News
The Latest on: Robots and jobs
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