Uber Experiments with Self-Driving Trucks

As you may know, automobile accidents are among the main causes of personal injury and fatalities. In attempt to cut back in auto accidents, various companies are experimenting with automated vehicles. Recent studies show that automated vehicles could safe up to 300,000 lives every decade here in the United States. A report produced by Google shows that automated vehicles are potentially one of the best things to happen to public health during this century.

Another report emphasizes that auto accidents significantly impact our economy. In 2012, auto accidents in the United States cost our economy $212 billion. This report goes on to say that automated vehicles can potentially decrease the auto accident rate by 90 percent. So, automated vehicles can save the United States about $190 billion!

Well, what about Automated Tractor-Trailers?

In the year 2014, 11 million tractor-trailers drove more than 279 billion miles throughout the United States. With all these tractor-trailers, truck-related accidents are a common occurrence. A good way to cut back on truck-related accidents is, you guessed it, having automated tractor-trailers, too.

Researchers and entrepreneurs, including the Uber company, are experimenting with self-driving tractor-trailers. Yet, at the moment, self-driving does not mean that no person will be in the truck. Rather, a driver will be in the truck and ready to take the wheel or apply the brakes if needed.

Uber wishes to one day have fully automated tractor-trailers. To reach this goal, Uber purchased a self-driving tractor-trailer company named Otto. Earlier this week, Uber reported that one of its Otto automated trucks completed its first successful delivery. In short, the truck drove, automatically, 120 miles between Fort Collins, Colorado and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The truck delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser beers.

The self-driving truck operated with several sensors, cameras and radars positioned around the truck. These gadgets allowed it to see the road. These gadgets also allow the truck to accelerate or decelerate and brake and turn. A professional driver was in the truck during this lengthy beer run, yet, he was in the back in the sleeper cabin; not behind the wheel.  

The Benefits

There are several benefits that come along with self-driving trucks. For one, there are economic benefits. For instance, self-driving trucks are able to closely follow the vehicle ahead of it. This protects the truck from wind resistance and allows for a faster trip.

Second, self-driving trucks could benefit our economy. Self-driving trucks will likely be more fuel-efficient than the other trucks. Ultimately, this would lead to less fuel and carbon emissions.

Third, self-driving trucks offer numerous safety precautions. Self-driving trucks are equipped with safety software that closely manages blind spots, vehicles around the truck, and helps make decisions regarding when to brake, turn, accelerate, et cetera.

Fourth, self-driving trucks will greatly reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents. Fatigue is consistently a leading cause of tractor-trailer related accidents. Fatigue was found to be the cause in nearly 4,000 annual deaths resulting from truck-related accidents. Some truckers drive 11-hour stretches with little sleep. Self-driving trucks allow the driver to rest and relax while the truck continues on its route.

Take Action if you are Injured

It may take many years for fully automated trucks to be on the road at a regular rate. Until then, the number of truck-related accidents will likely remain the same. If you or a loved one are injured from a tractor-trailer related accident, it is important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the experience needed to aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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