> We may also need dedicated lanes as slow-moving driverless trucks could be a hazard for drivers.
I wonder if the author realizes the amount of money this would take in the US. Even if the federal government put up the money to make this happen on interstates, each state would have to come up with the money for state roads. For most states, the transportation budget is a ongoing battle and I can't see tax payer money going to automated truck lanes any time soon.
My guess is that driverless trucks will only be 'a thing' in very urban areas over a short distance due to safety, maintenance, and financial concerns. Therefore, the long haul trucker will still have a job at the end of the day.
My guess is actually opposite of yours though. I think short distance trucking will come last, with long-haul interstate trucking coming first. Short distances don't really need an automated truck... the trucker just gets in, drives, and arrives. Automating/standardizing loading/unloading would be great but automating the driver is less of a win.
On the hand, take interstates. Trucker gets in and drives for upward a few days with multiple mandated stops for naps/food... afaik, it takes 3 days to safely drive from SF to NY because of those stops. Now imagine a self-driving truck where the driver is only responsible for first/last-mile driving and refueling... done in 48 hours flat. 30% shorter transit time, plus whatever fuel/insurance savings the AI driver generates. Not bad.
And that are routinely blocked by trucks with human drivers who keep forgetting their required height clearance. If there was a way to make shipping companies fully responsible for all the delays caused but stuck trucks, laser-scanner assistance systems that stop the truck before it is stopped by the arch would already be a popular retrofit.
Truck manufacturers are onboard because they get to sell replacements for every truck on the road... it's the shipping companies that are going to be the hard sell. The market is ripe for disruption but both shipping customers and shippers will be hesitant when faced with new fangled laser-thingamajiggers.
By "likely" you mean one guy in a Tech Crunch editorial mentioned that would be efficient. Driverless trucks could look totally different because they don't need to house a driver (and their sleeping quarters) and be much more aerodynamic.