Car accidents are something every driver has faced. Whether seeing one on the freeway or being in one yourself, a car accident can be pretty frightening and stressful.

In fact, according to the NHTSA, 94% of car crashes are caused by human error. These errors could range from checking a text all the way to simply panicking under pressure, but what if car accidents could be avoided altogether? Well, this is what companies like Tesla and General Motors hope to achieve through the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

Although it may sound crazy, the truth is that these AI-powered autonomous vehicles may actually be able to remove the human error from the equation entirely and lead to safer roads and more efficient business in no time. However, with new technology comes many unanswered questions. Below are two of the most crucial questions the average truck driver may have.

Will Autonomous Diesel Trucks Be Available to The Public Soon?

Unfortunately, although several self-driving cars are currently being tested in states such as Texas, we may not see these cars go to market until 2019 due to the fact that more safety tests must be run.

However, there are currently driverless diesel trucks taking cargo across the country as part of these tests and doing so successfully thus far. Not only does this mean that driverless cars can perform the basic ‘point A to point B’ driving tasks but it also means that diesel engines are compatible options for this tech.

Despite this, most companies have suggested that many of the autonomous vehicles that will be available to the public will be electric instead as diesel engines are truly only necessary for cargo and delivery vehicles. Although this doesn’t mean it will always be this way, it might be a while before the diesel industry sees a mass-produced diesel pickup truck that drives itself.

Will Self-Driving Trucks Take Away Diesel Truck Driver Jobs?

It’s no doubt that self-driving trucks will save lives. In fact, nearly 4,000 Americans die in truck-related accidents every year. But what may be even more shocking will be the loss of jobs associated with this shift in transportation. Unfortunately, with a technology such as autonomous delivery trucks, many companies will no longer have a need for truck drivers and will opt to save the money on wages instead.

Although this may not seem like that big of a deal, according to the LA Times, autonomous vehicles could cost America over 5 million jobs. Not only will diesel truck delivery drivers be out jobs but so will all delivery drivers from pizza deliverers and taxi drivers all the way to FedEx and bus drivers.

However, on the other side, many other individuals believe no jobs will be lost at all. In fact, Diane Hames, general manager of DTNA, said that driverless trucks aren’t there to replace drivers, and claimed they will actually make drivers’ lives easier. These trucks will make drivers safer but not eliminate the need for the driver when removing the freight from the vehicles, dealing with customers, breaking down, and abiding by weigh station requirements.

Furthermore, according to Forbes magazine, “These trucks also can’t easily operate within heavily populated areas. Conditions become too confusing and even powerful computers and software can’t keep up. Plus the trucks can’t perform multiple delivery stops when someone has to take merchandise off, possibly bringing it to a front door. You can’t ask shippers to depend on the honesty of recipients to come out and take only what is theirs.”

In fact, some people have even suggested that these driverless trucks could create trucking jobsbecause of the need for skilled drivers in more densely populated areas and the potential reduction in yearly deaths, thus making trucking jobs seem more enticing to younger individuals.

The true value of these autonomous diesel trucks actually doesn’t lie with the efficiency at all but rather the safety they could provide for truck drivers worldwide. Although this could lead to a few jobs vanishing at first, the odds are that autonomous trucks may actually lead to an increase in trucking jobs and a decrease in truck-related accidents.

In the end, it will always come down to the benefits over the drawbacks and, for now, it would seem that testing and research are the key to finding solutions to all the problems which come with making our roads human error-free.

At Gem State Diesel, the future doesn’t scare us. We know the auto industry is always advancing, and we make sure all of our mechanics are up to date on the latest trends. Whether your pickup is a futuristic wonder or a blast from the past, come on in for a checkup today!