google self driving carAs reported by Tim Higgins of, General Motors product development chief, Mark Reuss, has expressed concern over Google’s continued pursuit of autonomous vehicle technology. “Anybody can do anything with enough time and money,” Reuss is reported to have said, and he considers them “a very serious competitive threat.” So, what does this mean to the trucking industry? Well, Samuel Barradas of recently remarked that “automating driving is one thing, but there’s much more to trucking than just holding a steering wheel.” The biggest impact, however, could be in the possible reduction in 4-wheeler vs. 18-wheeler accidents on America’s highways. According to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the driver of the car was found at fault 81% of the time in accidents between commercial trucks and cars.

The potential for almost a 90% reduction in accidents due to self-driving cars would have a major impact on the trucking industry.

There would be less downtime, less maintenance, less fines, less common knowledge misconception that commercial truck drivers are the bane of all freeways and right-hand turns. Autonomous cars may signal a “competitive threat” to personal vehicle manufacturers, but I for one don’t believe it should be received the same by the commercial truck driving companies of America. With the possibility of reducing if not completely eliminating unsafe or impaired drivers so near, commercial truckers and their companies should be excited about their potential.

The biggest threat would come to the Auto Transport side of commercial trucking, as people would have less use for transport if their car can drive itself to its destination. However, long trips that would require refueling, and toll roads would still force them to either make the trip in their car or transport it, leaving a huge window for the Auto Transport industry to still be relevant and needed.

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