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Don’t Look Now, but Here Come Autonomous Trucks

 Tuesday, June 1, 2021

 Insurance Thought Leadership

While the focus for years has been on autonomous cars and on what they’ll do for safety, for auto insurance, for our lifestyles and more, a disruption is taking shape in the nearer term: autonomous trucks.

The fear factor has obscured that vision. While it is odd enough to drive down a street in Phoenix and see a Waymo minivan next to you without a driver, it’s hard to imagine anyone setting loose on a highway an 18-wheeler carrying 50,000 pounds without anyone at the wheel.

But we’re close.

If you can get the image of a hulking semi out of your mind, highway driving makes perfect sense. The issues that have slowed deployment of autonomous cars all relate to the vagaries of us humans.

The technical problems related to snow, rain, fog, etc. have all been solved. But is that driver going to shove his way into the intersection even though he doesn’t have the right of way, or will he wait for the AV? What about that pedestrian walking against traffic? That bicyclist who seems confused?
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