Self-Driving Trucks Might Soon Ditch Human Backups

January 11, 2024

Three start-up companies are reportedly planning to deploy fleets of totally self-driving semitrucks starting this year, in what would be a departure from current testing programs that require having a human backup driver on board. Advocates see driverless trucks as offering improved productivity. But in Issues, sociologist Steve Viscelli worries that a too-hasty shift to robot trucks might turn them into “sweatshops on wheels.” Government regulators and the industry, he argues, should pay major attention to the compensation and safety of human truckers, as well as to trucking’s impacts on infrastructure and the environment.

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