When you see a truck on the road, you automatically assume that there is a truck driver driving it. That may not always be the case moving forward. Some trucks hauling FedEx deliveries from Dallas to Houston will be testing driverless big rigs.
This month, Aurora, an autonomous vehicle company, announced that it has partnered with FedEx and truck-manufacturer PACCAR to begin testing driverless big rigs along the 250-mile stretch of I-45 between Texas’ two largest cities. While the trucks will make the trek with a safety driver up front until at least 2023, almost all of the roadway decision-making and driving will be left to Aurora’s software systems and location-sensing hardware.
Aurora’s trucks will operate exclusively on the “middle mile,” which usually involves shipping goods between large cities. They will not yet experiment with last-mile deliveries, which deliver products directly to stores and doorsteps, or cross-country trips. The trucks will pick up loads at a delivery facility on the outskirts of Dallas and drop them off at a FedEx facility north of Houston, avoiding the more congested and urban stretches of the freeway.
The new trucks will use a combination of cameras, radar and lidar, which uses reflected light and the Doppler effect to detect traffic conditions about 1,000 feet up the road. After this round of testing, Aurora is hoping to explore expanding its driverless truck driving routes throughout Texas.
What Does This Mean?
While this initiative should not directly impact other drivers on the road, it very well might influence traffic and safety. It is always important for drivers to drive defensively and it becomes even more imperative now that the future of driving shifts. The trucks are equipped with safety features, including a driver who is overseeing the driving functions, but accidents still happen. Our Texas truck accident lawyers encourage you to continue to drive safely and understand explore our resources regarding what to do if you have been involved in a truck accident.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, our Texas truck accident lawyers are prepared to help you. We have an extensive truck accident practice that has enabled us to help truck accident victims successfully. Contact us today by filling out a contact form or call us at (888) 430-0906.