The self-driving truck that could put Teamsters out of business: Nevada licenses new big rig that could one day see the end of professional truckers

The world’s first self-driving truck has been licensed for use on American roads – potentially heralding the beginning of the end for professional truck drivers.

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck received its official ‘autonomous vehicle’ license plate in Nevada Tuesday and rolled out to a test event on Hoover Dam.

The big rig uses camera and radar to scan the road in front for other vehicles, and can read and process road signs in real time.

On-board computers and wireless technology can also allow the trucks to ‘platoon’ in a long convoy where a long row of vehicles all follow the same instructions in lock-step…

  • What could possibly go worng?

    Seriously automation may mean new opportuintes as well, it can’t all be downside, however if autonomous vehicles prove viable that will affect a huge portion of the workforce.

    • tom_billesley

      I wonder how it well it would cope when a bridge is out.

      • G

        Or when the Teamsters start laying spikes in front of the trucks. I’ll laugh my ass off if they do.

    • Bataviawillem

      The brakes on your car are completely operated by the abs computer.
      If this computer decides you can’t brake your car will not slow down no mater what.
      Still, you get in your car without a second thought.

      I bet you, 10 or 20 years from now it will be the same for driverless trucks.

    • Dana Garcia

      When I think of advantages to automation, safety comes to mind, like little rovers to explore the Fukushima nuke plant. Similarly, machines on Mars can set up nice hotels for future humans who follow years later.

      But the economic effects look all bad unless some mitigation can be figured out. How does the economy work when a third of current jobs are gone in 10 years, as one expert forecasts?

      • The potential disruption is huge, still at this point it remains a prediction nothing more, further we are likely to a gradual and less disruptive phase in over time.

        • dance…dancetotheradio

          I’d like to see a self driving rig that can handle a prairie winter.

  • Dana Garcia

    Right, a “platoon” of robot big rigs sounds like a major disaster waiting to happen.

    Look at what’s happening to trains. Post WWII, freight trains had seven workers. Now they are down to two, and management hopes for zero before long. But there was a big derailment and explosion today in North Dakota, not that unusual. Trains are dangerous when they fall off the rails, which happens frequently.

    • Bataviawillem

      Post world war ll trains with 7 workers had way more accidents than current trains with 2 workers.

      • Surele Surele

        was just going to say exactly same thing.

    • Frau Katze

      Think how many fewer workers are needed at modern ports compared pre-containerization. A port used to full of people. Now there’s a guy sitting in a control tower.

    • Jaedo Drax

      Remote control is already in use in terminals to build the trains.

      And there aren’t as many train accidents as one might think if they just listened to the news.

      Railroads don’t want accidents to happen, it costs money, and wastes time.

      1,755 railway accidents in 2014 from the above, how many truck accidents were there?

  • Hard Little Machine

    I had to help build a lights out data center in Italy years ago. The labor laws required us to build an office and hire someone to sit there and do nothing.

    • Frau Katze

      Places like Italy had strong labour laws. Not sure how much survives.

    • Interesting, I am not aware if much lights out manufacturing is going on, it was touted years ago.

      • Hard Little Machine

        They’re just miles of aisles of racks of severs and data appliances we manage remotely.

    • Justin St.Denis

      I remember – I think it was 1975 or so – reading that the Italian Post Office had sold a week’s worth of mail as junk in order to get the money to deliver the next week’s mail. I kid you not.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      You should have given him a loom and told him to get weaving.
      We need carpets for the front entrance.

  • Sparrow

    I see one problem with this. Hijackers. If so many people are out of work, you can bet some bright bulb will figure a way to hijack the payload.

    • David Murrell

      …and computer wack-jobs could remotely demobilize driverless cars, sending the rigs into helpless autos. Islamic terrorists could do this sort of stuff as well.

    • You bet.

    • Gareth

      Trucks can be, and are, hijacked and/or stolen now.

  • Jaedo Drax

    A friend and myself had a discussion a couple of nights ago, about certain labor segments pricing themselves out of the market. I expect that you will see more automation at transload facilities before you see autonomous trucks in any large numbers.

    And lets be honest here, the Autonomous trucks can’t be any worse than the instant AZ’s in Brampton and parts thereabouts.

  • David


  • cmh

    great idea if they have dedicated lanes away from cars