Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Self-driving trucks could solve a labor shortage—and put truckers out of work

January 29, 2018

With the introduction of self-driving semi trucks looming, there is debate over whether the technology will put truckers out of work or help fill gaps in the industry.

A need for truckers: According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry has suffered from a lack of drivers for the past 15 years. In 2016, US trucking had a shortage of 36,500 drivers. The group, which advocates for truckers, says the need will only become greater—by 2026, the ATA says, the driver shortage could exceed 174,000. Autonomous trucks could, in theory, ease this burden rather than kick current truckers out of their jobs.

Tech takeover: Many of today’s job openings in trucking result from a lack of trained drivers. The introduction of self-driving trucks could fill those, but it could also have the knock-on effect of reducing efforts to train new drivers, resulting in less of a pipeline to fill jobs. That, in turn, could open the door to yet more self-driving trucks … and so on, until human truck drivers aren’t a thing anymore.

Want to stay up to date on the future of work? Sign up for our newest newsletter, Clocking In!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.