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Automated trucks may become common

Starsky Robotics is a San Francisco-based company that believes it has found a way to put more automated commercial trucks on the road. Commercial trucks that are self-driving are normally equipped with cameras and radar that allow a computer program to pilot them through highway and road traffic. However, these programs don't seem to be up to the task of navigating trucks to loading bays in Missouri and around the country.

To address this issue, the company has created a solution that relies on truck drivers remotely handling tricky maneuvers like parking. One of the company's co-founders has stated that the process is very similar to a boring video game, and it works on the same basis that allows people to remotely pilot drones.

Using the same cameras and radar that the computer system employs to drive the truck, truck drivers are able to see where a truck is going and avoid obstacles. They use a steering wheel and pedals, and drivers are able to control the throttle, steering and transmission. A 140-mile test trip has already been successfully completed with 85 percent of the trip being completed in autonomous mode.

Having self-driving trucks may help to reduce the risk of people being injured in an accident caused by truck driver fatigue. However, since there will be some human control, there remains the possibility that a collision involving an autonomous truck will still be attributable to human error, leaving the remote driver and the trucking company responsible for a victim's losses. In other cases, an attorney for an injured victim might determine that it was a software failure that caused the accident, thus exposing the manufacturer to potential liability.

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