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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2017NovemberWhen Will Automated Vehicles Alter Transportation Industry?

When Will Automated Vehicles Alter Transportation Industry?

3.5 million jobs in the United States may be wiped away in as little as 5 years. It isn’t due to an economic crisis and it has nothing to do with an imminent disaster. In fact, these jobs may be lost due to advanced productivity and an increase in technology. The invention? Automated vehicles.

The Race to Self-Driving Vehicles

As discussed in this article, Google, Tesla, Uber, and various other tech companies have their eyes on the prize: being the first enterprise to create a self-driving fleet of trucks, taxis, and passenger vehicles. There is big money to be gained for the companies that launch these vehicles first. No doubt these companies have “all hands on deck” for automated vehicle software manufacturing, which means that self-driving automobiles may be closer than we think. The trucking business is worth a whopping $700 billion dollars, with a third of the costs going to compensating drivers. If software companies can get in and replace those driver costs with a one-time payment for their automated trucks, they will.

Why Trucking Companies Want Automated Trucks

There are numerous reasons why trucking companies would want automated vehicles.

Here are some of the motivating factors:

  • Price of Labor: Obviously, machines do not require a salary. Trucks that drive on their own have no families to feed, no healthcare to pay for, and cannot request a higher salary for their work. There are only three costs for an automated truck working in right order, the cost of the truck when purchased, the gas that fuels it, and the insurance needed to cover it. These three costs are unavoidable even today in the trucking world, which means that automated trucks are nothing but cash cows in comparison their human-operated counterparts.
  • Time of Deliveries: A 48 hour haul could in theory be exactly 48 hours for an automated truck. For a man-powered truck, this haul could take up to four days because of the driver’s necessary need for food and rest. More cargo moved is more shipments completed and more contracts finished. The more contracts that are fulfilled, the more money that is made for trucking companies. Productivity is everything.
  • Potential Decreased Liability & Insurance Costs: Automated vehicles will never be instated until they are proven safe for passengers. The automation of motor vehicles will be scrutinized until it can be proven that automated vehicles are just as safe, if not safer, than human-controlled vehicles. However, if all motor vehicles are automatized, this could lead to very few accidents. The assumption that many people are making is that automatic vehicles will “talk” to one another and will be able to travel in sync seamlessly. If this is the case, automatic vehicles have the potential to considerably drop the number of auto accidents that occur each year. If accident rates do decrease, automatic vehicle insurance will cost next-to-nothing compared to the premiums that truck companies pay now. This will also decrease lawsuits for injuries that insurance companies pay for, which will also drive down premium costs for truck companies.
  • Increased Profits Allow Truck Companies to Grow Exponentially: Since truck companies will no longer be paying for the salaries of their truckers, they can now focus on increasing their productivity. In an automatic trucking industry, company owners can use profits to buy more automatic trucks, which expands the companies’ ability to deliver more goods. More deliveries means more profits, and the cycle continues.

Safety & Accidents Make Experts Push for Automated Vehicles

96% of all auto accidents are caused by human error. When the United States highways claim 37,461 lives each year, the margin for improvement is massive. However, human beings will always make mistakes when driving, so accidents will hardly be minimized by anything other than taking humans out of the equation. At this point in time, fully automated vehicles are still a ways off, but there is little doubt that automated vehicles could change the face of auto insurance.

In driverless cars, drivers will no longer be held accountable for the crashes that occur. If a crash were to occur with a driverless car, the manufacturer would likely be the one held responsible for the crash. One benefit of automated cars is that they will likely be recording data at all times, which means that finding out if a driverless vehicle or a man-operated vehicle caused an accident should be as easy as looking at the data. As more automated cars hit the streets, more data will be gathered by the general populous, which will either continue to spur on automated cars or slow automation.

The Future Has Not Yet Come & Accidents Are Still a Reality

Although looking to the future and contemplating what automatized vehicles means for the United States is interesting, at this point, it is not a reality. Men and women are still in the driver’s seat of trucks, taxis, and other transportation vehicles. Naturally, humans make mistakes, which means that accidents will happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck or other traffic accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Arnold & Itkin truck accident attorneys are waiting to hear about your accident and are willing to do so at no charge to you. In fact, Arnold & Itkin is a strong believer that you shouldn’t pay unless you are compensated. So why wait to have your case heard?

Call (888) 490-0442 to speak to a truck accident attorney today. One conversation can lead to compensation.


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