As autonomous car technology continues to evolve, some are looking to a future that also involves driverless trucks. Industry veterans from Apple, Tesla and Google have joined forces to create a new company called Otto. It developed a product that took three normal Volvo VNL 780 trucks and turned them into vehicles capable of navigating a route on its own.
The company uses sensors and cameras that are mounted on the truck's cab as well as hardware that allows the truck to steer itself. Therefore, there is no need to build a truck from scratch, which may help speed the development of a driverless truck. In addition, the new system costs as little as $100,000, which is less than the cost of buying a new truck. That could create interest among truck companies and others looking to upgrade on a budget.
While existing federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel, a driverless truck could operate around the clock. This would theoretically cut down on delivery times. In addition to Otto, there is a company called Freightliner that has tested autonomous trucks in Nevada. Overseas, a group of autonomous trucks coordinated to complete the European Truck Platooning Challenge.
Until the day that self-driving vehicles are ubiquitous, collisions involving trucks will continue to occur. Occupants of other vehicles often sustain catastrophic injuries when hit by a heavy 18-wheeler, requiring long periods of medical care. If it can be determined that the collision was the fault of a negligent truck driver, a lawyer could help an injured victim seek compensation for the losses that have been incurred through a personal injury lawsuit.