American Trucking Associations CEO Chris Spear says widespread acceptance of autonomous technology is still 20 to 25 years away, but until then the trucking industry needs to take a seat at the table in developing the regulatory and roadmap and market conditions.
“My team is working very hard to ensure that we are providing the voice that you all require in Washington, not conceding any ground to other modes,” said Spear. “This industry has to take its seat, or it’s going to be left behind.”
Trucking, according to Spear, could accelerate and accept this technology faster than any other mode, a message that he wants to carry to key decision makers in Washington, in the states and to all localities.
“They need to be focused on us first; we’re the test bed, we’re the innovators, we’re the ones that can get this done,” said Spear, “and that’s a message we need to share.”
At the same time, the Canadian Trucking Alliance is preparing a discussion framework between motor carriers, stakeholders and government son this side of the border. The will be discussed with members at the upcoming spring board meeting in March.
Meanwhile, another American trucking group, the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, has announced its unanimous support for the development of autonomous driving technologies for commercial vehicles.
Per a Feb. 28 statement, the board stated that it “supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies that enable commercial drivers to utilize highly automated driving systems, enhancing their safety and security.”
The board also said that the Alliance “supports the use of these technologies to achieve safety performance levels that rival commercial airlines” and supports other initiatives that focus on drivers and their safety, such as “advanced driver assisted technologies in commercial vehicles, rather than commercial vehicles that rely solely on full automation.”
The statement pointed out as well that the Alliance “believes that commercial drivers are an indispensable asset to the safe operation of commercial vehicles” and that it “maintains the principle that commercial drivers are necessary to improve the safety and security of the general public.”
The companies within the Alliance companies and the states they’re headquartered in are: Cargo Transporters (North Carolina), Dupré Logistics (Louisiana), JB Hunt Transport Services (Arkansas), KLLM Transport Services (Mississippi), Knight Transportation (Arizona), Maverick USA (Arkansas), and US Xpress (Tennessee).