The Future of Truck Driving: Drivers vs. Driverless Trucks

January 31, 2022

We’re continually hearing about how the future of truck driving. Drivers vs. driverless. It’s been one year since TuSimple completed a major demo that moves us just a little closer to that future when they completed a fully driverless, 80-mile journey on public roads in a Class 8 semi-truck. There was no human being on the truck and zero intervention from a remote pilot. Despite these tests and sensational headlines, it’s important for truck drivers worried about their jobs to not give in to these media-frenzied stories.

While driverless trucks may play a role in the future, they won’t be replacing truck drivers in the foreseeable future. At Chief Carrier’s we’re actively hiring truck drivers for Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and beyond. We have no plan to replace truck drivers with driverless trucks, no matter what.

What is a Driverless Truck?

A driverless truck is any semi-truck that has at least some level of autonomy. 

  • Level 0 – No automation.
  • Level 1 – Assisted steering and lane departure warnings.
  • Level 5 – Fully automated truck that can drive itself, even in inclement weather without needing a driver.

Most companies like Tu Simple, Embark, Daimler, Tesla, and Waymo are introducing level 2-3 automation right now, with level 5 only happening in carefully controlled demonstrations. Technology has come a long way over the last ten years and there’s more money being invested in driverless truck technology than ever before, but truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and across the country shouldn’t be worried. 

The Future of Truck Driving

There are still a lot of questions and concerns that need to be answered regarding the safety of this new truck driving technology. At first blush, it makes sense to build out this incredible technology. Most of the companies we’ve mentioned are only testing level 2-3 automation right now. It’s important to remember the trucks aren’t doing everything by themselves. Even driverless truck driving companies require an experienced driver to be in the truck at all times just in case something does go wrong.

Driverless trucks can’t do the following: 

  • A truck can’t load the freight.
  • A truck can’t unload the freight.
  • A truck can’t talk to customers.
  • A truck can’t talk to dispatch about the load.

At Chief Carriers, safety is our number one priority for our drivers. When considering the benefits of driverless trucks of the future, we see value in reducing human error. But that’s still a long way away.

The Next Decade 

So, what’s the future of self-driving trucks? Investors will continue to poor resources and money into driverless technology. We may still be a decade or more away from driverless trucks as the norm in America. Everyone agrees, even if and when this technology becomes the norm, experienced truck drivers will still be needed in the front of the cab at all times. If you’re a truck driver, don’t spend time worrying about the driverless truck technology putting you out of work anytime soon. The future of truck driving is you!

Interested in learning more about being a truck driver? We’re hiring in the following states:

Apply at Chief Carriers today and be a part of the future of truck driving! High pay, health insurance, and bonuses are just a few of the benefits of driving a flatbed in Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, or Illinois!