Are you a trucker and worried about losing your job to self-driving trucks? If so, you should be. A transportation revolution is underway that will transform the industry and potentially displace millions of workers.
A report created by Goldman Sachs projects that over 3 million United States trucking jobs might be cut due to autonomous driving technology. This includes trucks of all sizes, not just the classic 18-wheelers that are standard on U.S. freeways. To put that number in perspective, that represents 1 in 50 American jobs!
Large Tech-Driven Companies Will Lead the Way
In the near term, truckers don’t need to get too worried. However, change is coming, and fast forward another two decades, and things will look different. Once self-driving trucks enter the mainstream, approximately 25,000 jobs will be eliminated monthly. Tech-savvy companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart will most likely lead the pack and begin the transition to autonomous vehicles first.
As the technology is refined and improved, the changeover will accelerate. In 25 years from now, there will be very few Americans working as drivers.
Currently, There is a Shortage of Truckers in the U.S.
There is some good news for current truck drivers. Industry stats show a shortage of about 48,000 U.S. truckers. In the next 7 years, that number will climb to nearly 200,000 drivers. One of the reasons there is such a demand for drivers is a significant shift in consumer buying habits.
In years past, people went to the mall and local stores to make purchases. Today, millions are going online to shop year-round. Those purchases need to be delivered, and that requires thousands of drivers. For the time being, that means real human drivers.
Another issue facing the transportation industry is many potential workers are scared of going into the profession for fear of their jobs being replaced in the next few years. This perception has added to the shortage of current drivers in the workforce.
Some Driving jobs will be impacted Much Sooner
If you are in the ride-share industry, maybe you should start looking into a career change. Here are the driving jobs that will be hit first. These include:
- Ride-Sharing Drivers (Current Uber, Lyft and Taxi Drivers beware)
- Bus Drivers
The impact of autonomous vehicles on long-haul trucking jobs is a topic of ongoing debate and speculation. The introduction of autonomous trucks has the potential to reshape the trucking industry, but the extent to which it will impact employment is influenced by various factors.
The transition to fully autonomous long-haul trucks is expected to be gradual. In the early stages, autonomous systems will likely assist human drivers rather than completely replace them. This could involve automated highway driving, with human drivers handling more complex tasks in urban or challenging environments.
Many autonomous systems under development require human oversight and intervention in certain situations. This means that even if autonomous trucks become more common, human drivers may still need to be present and ready to take control when necessary.
The adoption of autonomous vehicles could lead to the creation of new jobs and roles in the industry. For example, there may be a need for technicians to maintain and repair autonomous systems, as well as professionals to monitor and manage the operation of autonomous fleets.
The widespread deployment of fully autonomous trucks faces logistical and regulatory challenges. Developing a comprehensive regulatory framework addressing safety, liability, and other issues is essential before widespread adoption can occur.
Public perception and acceptance of autonomous vehicles, especially in large and heavy-duty applications like long-haul trucking, will play a crucial role. Concerns about safety, job displacement, and the reliability of autonomous technology could influence the pace of adoption.
While some jobs in the trucking industry may evolve or change, it’s important to note that complete automation and the mass displacement of long-haul truck drivers are not imminent. The impact on employment will depend on how the technology is implemented, regulatory developments, and the broader economic and social context. It’s a complex and evolving situation that requires ongoing observation and analysis.
Traditionally, workers without a college degree or who have a low level of education have been able to make a good living in the transportation industry. Those jobs will disappear forever, while higher-skilled “IT” jobs will be in demand. This furthers a trend away from menial labor and towards high-technology jobs that require specialized skills for AI-powered systems and apps used now in most sectors, including transport.
In 2017, there were about 3.75 million driving jobs in the U.S. This represents everything from taxi and limo drivers to long-haul semi-truck workers. While no one knows for sure how long it will take for the majority of drivers to be displaced and out of work, one thing is for sure: it will happen. It may take as long as 25 years or as few as 15, but a change in driving technology is inevitable.
Apps for managing almost everything from maps and navigation to road hazards like potholes and maybe the hidden police car are all the rage with all drivers. There’s also an app for managing your road tolls. For example, the Uproad app automates road toll payments, detecting when a road toll is required and paying it while driving. Hence, you never have to pay beforehand or afterward and risk missing the payment and incurring late payment fees.
The writing is on the wall, so to speak, for many traditional transport roles, particularly truck drivers. However, what’s more likely to occur is fewer school leavers will opt for a career as a truck driver, so in the medium term, there will be a shortage of drivers as eCommerce sites continue to convert in-store shoppers. On a positive note, there will be more job opportunities in smart tech with Apps for all things driving.