The new head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said recently that driverless tech is “certainly” coming for jobs.
Acting Administrator of the FMCSA, Meera Joshi, spoke during the agency’s 2021 Analysis, Research, and Technology forum. She answered questions from virtual attendees, including one about how driverless trucks might effect truck drivers.
Last year DOT published a report on what the potential impacts of automated driving systems might be on trucking. Though it contained a huge amount of data and insight from the industry and tech companies, it shied away from making any “definitive predictions.” It did generally suggest that “there is a long time horizon before broad adoption can take place.”
Joshi echoed that sentiment, telling attendees that there simply isn’t enough data available yet to know for sure what the impact will be. And, as Joshi noted, to some it may seem like wide adoption of autonomous trucks is still a long way off. But, “if it’s your livelihood that seems like it’s being threatened, it is an immediate problem.”
“There’s a huge workforce that today travels all across the nation and performs the duties of a professional driver, and it’s been a mainstay of American employment for quite a long time,” Joshi said according to Transport Topics. “Nothing will happen overnight, but automated vehicles will certainly make inroads into that workforce. What we can’t argue about is that this is a reality. There will be a major shift in workforce.”