Florida residents may have heard that a California-based company named Otto is designing a system that will allow existing semi-trucks to become fully self-driving. The individuals involved in the startup include veterans who have worked with other companies involved in designing self-driving cars, such as Google, Apple and Tesla.
In a period of four months, the veterans were able to design a kit that has had some success. The company has already added the technology to three Volvo VNL 780 trucks. These trucks are now capable of driving down the highway on their own. The kits use sensors and cameras that are mounted to the top of the cab. Hardware and specially-designed software then steers the cab.
Although fully automated vehicles are costly, this technology could actually save the trucking industry money. The kit could allow companies to bypass certain issues. While federal regulations, for example, place a limit on the number of hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel in a given period, automated trucks could make deliveries around the clock.
As with other self-driving vehicles, fully automated trucks may be able to reduce the number of accidents that occur on highways. Human error, sleep deprivation and distractions can result in serious truck accidents that often cause serious injuries to others who are on the road, resulting in high medical expenses and missed days from work. When such an accident can be shown to have been caused by the negligence of the truck driver or the trucking company, an attorney can help a victim seek compensation for those and other losses.