LOS ANGELES - A self-driving truck recently made what is believed to be the first autonomous commercial delivery. The truck delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer after driving 120 miles across Colorado highways.
Although there was a human trucker on board to navigate the city driving, one has to wonder what that means for the trucking industry.
A spokesperson for the American Trucking Association told Motherboard: "We believe that there is always going to be a place for a professional driver in the trucking industry, for a number of reasons.”
Truck drivers’ jobs appear safe for the short-term. Current federal laws require commercially licensed drivers to be behind the wheel during transport of hazardous materials and livestock, and the industry actually has a shortage of drivers due to high turnover and under-qualified applicants.
Although the long-term is unclear, this sort of change is nothing new. Throughout history, humans have feared the machine. The sawmills went through it. Automobile factories went through it. Telephone operators and bank tellers went through it.
Maybe self-driving trucks will complement human drivers. Maybe they will completely replace them. Whatever happens, that’s the point of technology. It is supposed to make our lives easier; to free up time so that we can do our jobs better, grow industries to create new kinds of jobs, and live our lives more fully.
And if you are still stressed out about a robot apocalypse, just relax...at least there is beer on the way.