North Carolina motorists may be interested to learn that a San Francisco company is attempting to replace truck drivers with remote control systems. The technology would allow the drivers of the vehicle to control the vehicle from a remote office.
The co-founder of the company stated that the goal was to give truck drivers more time at home and to make the workplace environment safer for them. One positive is that the technology can be retroactively fit to trucks that are already in use, meaning that owner-operators and trucking companies would not have to purchase new vehicles. The retrofit kit allows drivers to control the vehicle’s steering, throttle and transmission while utilizing data from the vehicle’s environment.
The technology was successfully tested in February with a 140-mile trip. The driver was in the vehicle at the time at operated the truck using the remote control technology approximately for about 85 Percent of the trip. It has been tested extensively in trucking yards but has not yet been used in highway settings. The co-founder stated that the company’s goal was to remove the driver from the vehicle and operate it remotely by the end of 2017.
This type of technology, if widely implemented, could go a long way in reducing the number and severity of commercial truck accidents, as many are caused by truck driver fatigue or by drivers who are speeding or under the influence. However, no technology is foolproof, and it is inevitable that crashes will continue to occur. This will likely require attorneys who are representing injured victims to review the computer logs as part of an investigation into which party or parties should bear financial responsibility.