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Will robot trucks rule the road?

KGUN9's Operation Safe Roads
Posted at 7:02 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-13 12:35:18-04

A lot of new jobs are opening up in Tucson.  A Chinese company developing self-driving trucks here says it's jumping from a hundred jobs to six hundred.

But how could that affect jobs for human truckers and will they be safe?  As part of KGUN9's Operation Safe Roads, Craig Smith talked with a rep for the robot truck company and with a man making his living behind the wheel.

TuSimple is a Chinese company planning the world's largest fleet of autonomous trucks.
Governor Ducey came to celebrate the company's plan to expand its drivers, technicians and engineers from a hundred workers to six hundred.

TuSimple Vice President Chuck Price says TuSimple's trucks will be better drivers than people are.

"It will never fall asleep. We have perception system that is better than a human. We know what all of the objects are in our environment at all times better than a human can perceive and track."
But over at the Triple T Truck Stop, William Herr is skeptical about self-driving trucks.
At the Triple T's Beuford's Barber Shop he thinks autonomous trucks may be fine for simple situations but could have a tough time with unpredictable human drivers and difficult weather

"You get a snow storm and you get a snow storm when you have 50 foot visibility.  You don't stop in that 50 foot visibility.  There's nowhere to pull over.  You have to crawl down the road and pull over to the side when you think you can reasonably do so to clean the ice off your wipers and keep going."

TuSimple VP Chuck Price says, "I'd say they're they're rightly skeptical.  They should watch what we're doing. And we're following a very rigid safety program to ensure that the vehicle is not released in the wild until it's ready. And that will require millions of miles of testing."
But William Herr thinks self-driving trucks will not cost human truckers their jobs because there's such a shortage of drivers.