Industry news

Driverless trucking has been a long time coming. For a while now, there have been many debates around this subject. As reported by FreightWaves, Aurora has gone a few steps ahead. They have opened a driverless trucking route in Texas, from Dallas to Houston. This is the nation's first commercial driverless route. There has been a lot of resistance to this kind of move. The timing was not the best, given the current wave of resistance.

Bad Timing

It was one of the worst times for Aurora to go ahead with the launch. Cruise Automation just recently had to suspend their operations because of complaints. They were forced to put operations in Austin, Texas, on hold. People are accusing them of causing too much traffic. The driverless trucks are too careful, and therefore, they cause traffic delays. Their deployment suffered a big blow due to accidents that involved their trucks. Traffic issues and safety are key and cannot be ignored.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the Teamsters bill meant to ban driverless trucking. California still requires a driver behind the wheel, who monitors how the trucks operate. Texas, amongst all states, has been the most welcoming to driverless truck testing. The Teamsters have not stopped. They continue protesting and hoping to win this battle. The protests have moved from California to Texas.

Teamsters’ Demands

Teamsters’ message is clear. They do not want driverless trucks on the roads. They are fighting for the bill to have a human behind the wheel. In a letter, they express their disappointment with the lawmakers. They claim that these trucks are not safe to be on the road on their own. They don’t want them anywhere near the public roads. They claim that these trucks ignore traffic lights and cause traffic delays. They also cause inconvenience to emergency responders. The baseline of the protests is the fact that these trucks are not safe to use on public roads. They endanger other road users.

Aurora Pushes Toward Driver-out in 2024

Aurora is pushing to have driverless trucks plying the I-45 as soon as late 2024. They are running 75 weekly tests. They are still using safety drivers. Terminals are also readily available, just awaiting the launch. The terminals house, maintain and inspect these trucks. They ensure these trucks are ready and safe for use on the roads. This kind of inspection reduces the need for further inspections while in transit. They mean that there would be fewer stops on the road. The project has come a bit earlier, but it is important since it will allow Aurora to focus on what's next.

Technology is taking over. It is also the way to go. It is very important to trucking that some of the new trends are adopted. The biggest one is driverless vehicles. At the moment, it is facing resistance from Teamsters. However, in the long run, it will be the way to go. All people involved must come together and lay ground rules that will allow safety and a win-win situation for all. Technology is important and must be embraced under clear policies to ensure safety.

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