ONTARIO (CBSLA.com) — An automotive company this week unveiled the world’s first autonomous big-rig, but the announcement has some professional truck drivers worried about their jobs.
German carmaker Daimler unveiled the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, a prototype, in Nevada this week and says the use of cameras and radar will allow the truck to drive itself on the freeway.
“What about our jobs? What about our families? What is it going to do for all of us?” said Mario Ramirez, a truck driver.
Ramirez is not alone.
Mason Yaryan, another truck driver, said he worries about what the new technology will do for his job in the future.
“It makes me concerned because I’m a young guy myself,” Yaryan said. “What is it going to do for our jobs in the future? Just like what happened to Detroit. A lot of the guys got put out work by machinery. Is that what’s going to happen to us?”
In a statement, a Teamsters Union spokesperson said:
“The Teamsters Union does not believe that an automated truck can replace the skill, expertise and judgment of a professional driver.”
Ramirez questions the safety of the self-driving truck.
“When there’s an accident a lot of people get hurt. What about there’s nobody behind the wheel?” he said.
Although a driver isn’t needed, Cruz says someone must always be inside the self-driving truck and that driver would need to take control during severe weather and other instances.
Daimler argues that the truck is safe, but not everyone is convinced as some drivers are comparing the driverless 18-wheeler to a robot.
“I wouldn’t trust a robot to drive me and my kids just like I wouldn’t want someone taking my job at work,” said Christina Alamillo, a driver.
Other drivers, though, are embracing the technology if tested thoroughly.
“I think it could be something that we can get used to,” Stephen Hazelton, a driver, said.
A company spokesperson says it could take anywhere from 2 to 5 years before the company mass produces these trucks and will all depend on unified regulations across the country.