DOT study predicts no mass layoffs from driverless trucks

A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-sponsored study on automated driving systems (ADS) concludes that truck drivers should not fear significant job losses due to automation unless driverless technology is adopted on a fast timeline.

Produced by DOT’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, “Macroeconomic Impacts of Automated Driving Systems in Long-Haul Trucking,” released in January, for the first time estimates productivity benefits due to ADS in the trucking industry as well as indirect benefits for the wider economy. It is considered a “companion piece” to a federal interdepartmental preliminary analysis on the same issue…

Only under the fast adoption scenario — a “very optimistic” scenario in which 75% of new vehicle purchases involve ADS within 10 years of the technology becoming available — does the study predict layoffs in the trucking industry. However, the study notes, these are at most 1.7% of the long-haul workforce in a single year, and the layoffs only occur during a five-year period.