• Trevor Wetmore

Fully-automated trucks unlikely says US transport leader

A move to completely automate the trucking sector is unlikely for a long time, US transport leader Bob A Voltmann says.

Mr Voltmann is the president and chief executive of the Transportation Intermediaries Association in the US and spoke in Melbourne this week at the 2018 ALC & ATA Supply Chain and Compliance Summit.

In addressing the gathering, he mentioned the need to attract drivers and others into the industry via better wages and treatment.

“There is a lot of talk in the US about autonomous vehicles. No-one, I don’t believe, in this room will be alive, at least in the United States, when we allow class-5 autonomous vehicles,”

“That would be a driverless truck running anywhere it wanted to run. It is just not going to happen.

“How many of you when you get in the aeroplane still look left to see that there’s a pilot sitting there? I know I do.”

Mr Voltmann said he expected the use of automated vehicles and “driver assist” to increase, but “I don’t think we’ll ever get to fully-automated driverless trucks”.

“The head of Mercedes Benz spoke at a conference earlier this year and said they will never build a truck that doesn’t have a steering wheel because if they did, they would be liable for every truck accident,” he said.

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