Following the launch of Freightliner’s Inspiration truck, many financial experts say that driverless trucks would kill jobs and be harmful to the American economy.
Though the Freightliner Inspiration still needs a human operator, the clear goal of the project would eventually be to eliminate the need for human drivers. Experts speculate that this could be a devastating blow to the economy. Not only would driverless trucks put the nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers out of work, but it would also threaten many of the 5.2 million employees in the trucking industry who don’t drive (think truck stop employees, motel workers, etc.).
Without the spending of 8.7 million trucking industry workers, experts predict that there could be a very significant economic impact for the rest of the country. Small towns in rural communities with economies that are completely dependent on drivers could dry up completely.
Experts say that truck drivers are not the only workers who should be concerned about their jobs. Machines and robots are becoming an attractive alternative to human workers in a number of jobs. Pharmacists, sports writers, waiters, soldiers, and lawyers can all expect to have their jobs threatened by machines in the coming years.
Other economic experts say that panic over the consequences of driverless trucks is unfounded. They say that many jobs have become obsolete without causing complete economic collapse. These experts predict that there will be temporary unemployment, but that older drivers would retire, younger drivers would move into other fields, and the next generation would simply train for different work.