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Researchers say that totally driverless semi trucks are at least 10 years away


While numerous companies are scrambling to get driverless truck to market at scale, researchers with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that it will be at least a decade before the technology is ready for widespread use.

On July 22, MIT researchers released a brief examining how autonomous driving technology will affect employment in the future.

One of the key findings shared by researchers was that “The widespread deployment of fully automated driving systems that have no safety driver onboard will take at least a decade. Winter climates and rural areas will experience still longer transitions.

Researchers also say that when the transition to driverless truck technology does happen, there will be other job opportunities “such as in the remote management of vehicles, but the quality of these jobs is uncertain, and depends somewhat on policy choices.”

Earlier this month, San Diego headquartered tech company TuSimple announced the launch of the “world’s first” Autonomous Freight Network (AFN), which they describe as “an ecosystem consisting of autonomous trucks, digital mapped routes, strategically placed terminals.”

TuSimple also announced a new partnership with Navistar International Corporation to “co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving semi-trucks targeted for production by 2024” in July.

Level 4 automation means that the truck is mostly self-driving but that a human driver can still take control of the vehicle. However, TuSimple also says that they plan to demonstrate “completely driverless operations” by next year.


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