We've heard a lot about self-driving taxis, as car and ride-sharing companies compete to win the driverless gold rush. But FedEx wants to bring its enterprise into the mix, as the head of its freight division has asked the US government to develop laws for self-driving trucks.
According to The Drive, citing a report by the Financial Times, CEO of FedEx Freight Michael Drucker believes the lack of existing laws about self-driving trucks is stifling innovation. He asserts that without regulation, the technology will not advance, and public opinion will remain negative towards the idea.
He may not be wrong. As reported by USA Today, a recent AAA poll found that three-fourths of Americans are scared to ride in a self-driving vehicle. It would seem safe to assume that fear would not drop when driving beside a 40-ton self-driving truck and that perhaps new laws and regulations would ease the public into the changing technology, especially if these laws required the presence of a truck driver.
In Drucker's mind, these autonomous trucks could render current drivers more like pilots, with more overseeing and general management than 100% manual control. That future is closer than we probably think, especially if the government agrees with FedEx and Drucker. Seeing as others have already begun investing in the booming technology, it would seem like the right choice.
Drucker appealed to the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security earlier this month, about why his industry needs continuing innovation. While not about driverless trucks, in particular, his words echo his reasoning behind the request for new these new laws:
Collaboration and sustained commitment to modernization will be vital to ensuring a reliable transportation system for American consumers, businesses and the growing e-commerce marketplace.