A convergence award was recently given by the National Science Foundation to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to support research about the potential workforce implications of autonomous trucks. The foundation grant will allow for a workshop for industry experts and research professionals to look at how autonomous truck deployment could influence both the workforce and the economy.

This will converge many different disciplines including civil engineering, computer science, transportation, psychology, economics, autonomy, education and more. Major changes as a result of the introduction of automated vehicles will have a significant impact on the transportation system. The transportation system in the United States is currently under a massive amount of pressure due to the fact that demand for online retail means truckers are needed more than ever.

Unfortunately, however, trucking accidents carry a significant toll. There are a broad range of issues that affect heavy truck as well as bus operations. The sheer size and weight could make them more likely to be involved in a catastrophic accident and although autonomous vehicles are not yet deployed for passenger vehicles, they could have significant implications for the number of trucking accidents in the future. Autonomous trucking, however, does pose potential.

Truck accidents may even involve more dangerous cargo onboard the commercial vehicle, increasing the risk for a spill or additional injuries. For example, any flammable liquid onboard the truck could ignite and trap drivers or passengers caught up in the fray. The question still remains about to what extent autonomous trucking could prevent severe injuries if an accident is unavoidable.

Truck drivers have recently experienced a surge in pay due to higher demand for reliable truckers. Although there are many regulations in place that attempt to minimize the number of trucking accidents that occur on a daily or yearly basis, trucking accidents can and do still happen due to defective vehicle parts, inexperienced drivers, inappropriate training, drunk drivers, and drowsy drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.