Self-Driving Trucks to Begin Driving on the Roads of Texas

As autonomous vehicle technology develops, Texas is becoming the ideal state for industry innovators to test out cargo delivery by self-driving trucks.

Driverless vehicles, such as Tesla’s models and test cars introduced by Uber, are seen by many as the next “big thing” in transportation. News of developments in the industry has gained media attention because of the novelty of the concept — and because of the fact that the cars present some dangers.

Autonomous vehicles have been involved in several accidents since testing began, a notable case being the fatal pedestrian strike that occurred in Tempe, AZ last year. While self-driving cars still have a long way to go before they are truly integrated into the nation’s roads, the complications that have happened during testing raise understandable concerns.

Although self-driving cars have inspired testing and related legislation throughout the United States, autonomous trucks have not received the same welcome. The size of trucks, and the complexities of their operating systems, have raised concerns about their safety if left driverless. The potential risks of releasing self-driving 18-wheelers onto the roads have caused several states to ban the vehicles — but Texas has welcomed the new technology.

According to Wired, the autonomous truck industry has been embraced by the Texas Department of Transportation, and the state’s Department of Public Safety. Self-driving trucks are not only allowed in Texas, but “self-driving-vehicle developers don’t need special permits to test in Texas, and don’t have to tell authorities where they’re testing, or for how long—or even that they’re doing it.”

In addition to the support from authorities, businesses also cite the state’s weather, long highways, and successful existing (non-autonomous) trucking industry. For these reasons, companies like Kodiak Robotics, TuSimple, Peloton Technology, Embark, Starsky Robotics, and Ike are flocking to the Lone Star state. The businesses, many of them startups, have either already began administering tests in the state or are planning to start.

For now, businesses that have begun testing still appoint a “driver” to sit in the autonomous vehicles. Their job is to step in if any malfunctions occur and compromise the safety of the trucks.

Truck accidents often result is extremely debilitating injuries for victims. A person who is involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler can sustain life-altering injuries that require long-term treatment to address. With little regulation on the self-driving truck industry, the possibility of autonomous truck accidents is becoming a threat as companies move into Texas.

At Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC, our attorneys are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. Call (915) 206-5154 or use our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.