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© Haiyin

As the US haulage business looks to become more expensive as new rules come in next year, and with demand outstripping supply, the argument over driverless trucks is getting louder. Here Bloomberg examines the merits – which include, oddly enough, better benefits and pay for truck drivers. It reports that truck drivers will still be needed for urban areas and to override the system if required, but as they will need technology know-how, they would be paid more. That comes hand in hand with lower costs elsewhere – driver hours will be less important, convoys will reduce fuel costs and, in theory at least, fewer accidents will lead to lower insurance premiums. However, political moves to save driver jobs could actually jeopardise them –  “automation doesn’t only replace jobs. It can lead to faster employment growth, as the combination of human and robot labour improves productivity”. Bloomberg says 40 companies now have permits to test self-driving equipment, so it may come sooner than originally thought.

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