PKSD Newsletter – Driverless Semi Trucks Tested on Public Roads

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on September 20, 2022 in Truck Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

automated semi-truck road testsSelf-driving trucks are not just the wave of the future. They are here now and already being tested in multiple states across the U.S.

Are these vehicles safe? What checks and balances are there for accountability? What happens if a self-driving truck is involved in a crash?

In this month’s edition of the PKSD Newsletter, learn more about self-driving trucks, including the pros and cons of having them on America’s roadways.

How Are Self-Driving Semi-Trucks Being Tested on Public Roads?

Currently, various trucking companies are conducting pilot tests with autonomous (self-driving) trucks. Mostly, these self-driving semis are being tested along states in the sunbelt. One significant reason for choosing these states is because of the better weather conditions in the area. However, many of these areas are also more regulation-friendly and more apt to encourage testing.

Some of the recent companies conducting test drivers on public roads includes:

  • TuSimple – reportedly the first self-driving trucking company to go public and currently doing daily autonomous hauls between Phoenix and Tucson.
  • Plus – issues autonomous trucking systems and says it has already tested its trucks in 17 states.
  • Waymo – Google’s own self-driving vehicle program has announced it is preparing to test Freightliner semi-trucks on Dallas and Phoenix freeways.

Are Self-Driving Truck Tests Putting Other Vehicles At Risk?

Most road tests still include a human driver at the helm who is, reportedly, prepared to take control if a problem arises. That said, the goal is to eventually – within the next decade – send out fully automated trucks with no human driver on board.

What Are the Pros of Self-Driving Trucks on America’s Roads?

There are some obvious pros to having self-driving trucks on the road. At least according to the many supporters, these autonomous vehicles will help to make the roads safer.

There are some facts that support self-driving vehicles as well, such as:

  • Reducing the number of truck crashes due to human error
  • Addressing the issues caused by the ongoing shortage of truck drivers
  • Automated trucks can run 17 hours without having to take a break

Are There Risks to Putting Self-Driving Trucks on the Road?

Despite some of the advantages of driverless trucks, there are some concerns and risks with putting these vehicles on the road.

For instance:

  • Is consideration being given for the 500,000 truck drivers who will be put out of work?
  • What if something goes wrong and one of these 80,000-pound trucks causes a crash?
  • If a crash does happen, who could be liable for the damages?
  • Who holds truck manufacturers and owners accountable for maintaining this technology?
  • What parties are responsible for mitigating cybersecurity risks?

There are a lot of questions that remain about the safety of driverless semi-trucks.

What Are Your Thoughts About Sharing the Road With Self-Driving Trucks?

In this month’s PKSD newsletter, we give you an opportunity to share your thoughts. Check out and answer the “We Want to Know What You Think” questions.

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