Driverless trucks: what about the drivers?

Driverless trucks: what will happen to drivers?

A new report published by the International Transport Forum (ITF), says that automated road freight will save costs, reduce emissions and make roads safer – but the impact on driver jobs requires a managed transition.

According to the study, self-driving trucks could also address the shortage of professional drivers faced by the road-transport industry.

However, according to one scenario, the demand for drivers could be reduced by 50 to 70 percent in the United States (US) and Europe by 2030, with up to 4,4 million of the projected 6,4-million professional trucking jobs becoming redundant.

“Governments must, therefore, consider ways to manage the transition to driverless trucks in order to avoid potential social disruption from job losses,” the ITF notes.

The report makes four recommendations to help manage the transition:

  • Establish a transition advisory board to advise on labour issues.
  • Consider a temporary permit system to manage the speed of adoption.
  • Set international standards, road rules and vehicle regulations for self-driving trucks.
  • Continue pilot projects with driverless trucks to test vehicles, network technology and communications protocols.

“Even if the rise of driverless trucks dissuades newcomers from entering the trucking industry, more than two million drivers in the US and Europe could be directly displaced,” says the ITF.

The report was prepared jointly by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the International Road Transport Union (IRU), in a project led by the International Transport Forum.

You can download and read the full report here .

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