Dim initial view of driverless trucks

Dec. 1, 2014

As the trucking industry begins to experiment with driverless vehicle technology, public opinion on the subject is also being ascertained – and the initial reports, at least, aren’t coming up roses for the concept of pilotless big rigs.

Forrest Burnson, a market research associate with consulting firm Software Advice, pointed out that a recent survey his company conducted among 385 U.S. adult drivers found that sharing the road with “driverless trucks” is not a welcome idea at all. To wit:

  • Over two-thirds of the respondents polled by the firm said they would feel “less safe” sharing the road with driverless semi-trucks, while 56% believed driverless cars would be “less safe.”
  • Women were more likely than men to think that vehicles piloted by driverless technology would be less safe than vehicles operated by human beings.
  • The majority of respondents would be uncomfortable with driverless semi-trucks, even if it meant cheaper consumer products or reduced carbon emissions.

Such attitudes toward the safety of driverless technology poses quite a problem for truck makers and carriers alike as a whole, though not an insurmountable one, noted Alberto Broggi, a professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy who specializes in driverless vehicle technology research.

“The only thing [manufacturers could do] would be to demonstrate a lower probability of accidents,” he said. “But this is the usual problem, and it is very difficult to achieve, since an accident is not a frequent event [and] it will take years of widespread use of driverless technology to collect meaningful data on accident rates.”

Just shows that we’ve got a ways to go before the public gets comfortable with the idea of driverless trucks.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

Sponsored Recommendations

The Secrets to Keeping Drivers Safe and Happy

Various industry reports have suggested that safety is a growing concern for drivers in the transportation industry. Addressing these challenges begins with purpose-built uniforms...

What Does Your Fleet Safety Roadmap Look Like?

Explore where your fleet stands on the safety culture roadmap on March 25th. Discover how to integrate safety technologies effectively, secure driver buy-in, and leverage valuable...

Fleet Electrification: Selecting the Right Charging Infrastructure for Today, That’s Scalable for Tomorrow

Join us to gain real-world insights on how to select the right charging solution to meet your needs for today and tomorrow - from understanding the fundamentals, assessment, installatio...

Making Zero Emissions Trucks Work for Your Fleet’s Workflow in 2024

No one expects fleet owners to transition to an all-electric fleet overnight. Learn to transition to electric trucks: cut carbon, costs, and boost efficiency. Get your strategy...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!