Tesla, Otto, and other tech firms are developing autonomous trucks.
Legal experts and trucking analysts worry that current liability laws aren’t adapting to self-driving trucks.
Current laws don’t allow a truck manufacturer to be sued if it designed or manufactured a truck that kills someone.
Tesla, Otto, and other companies have been developing driverless vehicles for years, with Mercedez-Benz placing a semi-autonomous truck on the road in 2015.
Tech leaders and financiers alike are confident that self-driving trucks will become the norm as early as the next decade, phasing out around 1.8 million truck driving jobs and saving the industry an estimated $300 billion.
As for the actual truck drivers and those who analyze the industry, many are surprisingly nonchalant. They’re skeptical that this much-hyped technology has any looming effect.
“I think we’re actually still a pretty long way from that technology being fully baked,” Andrew Lynch, the cofounder and president of Columbus-based supply-chain company Zipline Logistics, told Business Insider.
“We’re not even close to prepared,” Lynch said, for those trucks to function on the highway — a pre-existing system that’s clogged with human drivers.
Donald Broughton, the managing partner of transportation analysis firm Broughton Capital, said it’s true that self-driving trucks won’t be barreling down the highway in the next five years.
But it’s not just because of kinks in the technology — it’s also because of legal complications.
‘We have to change the liability law’
There’s no clear path to suing a self-driving truck who hits and kills those outside of the truck. In 2016, 3,326 passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians died in large truck crashes. (Around 80% of car-truck crashes were caused by the passenger vehicles, not the truck.)
In cases where the trucker …read more
Source:: Business Insider