A trucking industry group representing a handful of the country’s largest carriers has expressed opposition to the deployment of fully autonomous, driverless trucks.
In a brief statement issued February 28, the Trucking Alliance says it “supports the development” of automated truck technology, so long as deployment of such technology doesn’t leave unmanned trucks roving U.S. roadways. The Alliance supports systems that aid drivers and keep them safer during the course of their work, says Lane Kidd, director of the Alliance.
“The truck drivers we have out there should not be worried about losing their jobs for many years,” says Kidd.
Alliance companies “wanted to emphasize the important role the professional driver will have in freight delivery for many years,” Kidd says.
The Alliance, fully known as the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security, includes J.B. Hunt (No. 6 in the CCJ Top 250), KLLM Transportation (No. 33), Knight Transportation (No. 24), Maverick USA (No. 76), US Xpress (No. 14), Dupré Logistics (No. 128) and Cargo Transporters (No. 209).
“Driver are integral to supply chain accountability, as well as managing unforeseen weather events, emergencies, detours, vehicle conditions, computer software programs, cybersecurity disruptions, cargo security and in providing efficient customer service,” the group’s statement reads. “The Alliance supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies that enable commercial driver to utilize highly automated driving systems, enhancing their safety and security.”
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.