As technology advances, many industries are being disrupted by automation. The trucking industry is no exception, as Goldman Sachs predicts that 300,000 truck driving jobs will be lost each year, starting in 2042 or earlier. This is due to the innovation of autonomous vehicles, which are now fully capable of traveling safely on the road and are improving every day in other driving scenarios. Some have predicted that up to 3 million truck jobs could disappear due to automation.
Currently, Canada reports a shortage of around 25,000 truck drivers, while the United States reports a huge shortage of around 60,000 drivers. This is due to the high turnover rates of drivers that are responsible for the shortage of truck drivers. Most companies pay drivers miles rather than for the time they spend driving or for their special skills. Several companies are developing Level 4 automation for autonomous trucks, with the goal of demonstrating profitability by reducing the need for labor.
This system automatically transmits to the driver where to enter the facility, where the truck should go once entered, and even what dock number should go. While technology still has a long way to go before full autonomous delivery is possible from start to finish, highway miles make up the vast majority of a trucker's driving. The safety improvements and cost savings that autonomous trucks bring are too valuable for businesses and governments to ignore. Customer service activities could be taken over by customer service representatives or replaced by technology, as has happened in other industries, but until this happens, companies will rely on truck drivers to carry them out.
Moving more cargo per trip means fewer trips, but it also means that the driver is even more risky because these trucks are more difficult to handle. It is clear that automation will have a major impact on the trucking industry in the coming years. While it is impossible to predict exactly how many jobs will be lost due to automation, it is certain that truck drivers will need to adapt and evolve in order to remain competitive in this changing landscape.