As it turns out, self-driving trucks need drivers.
The nation is facing a shortage of professional truck drivers which, in a twist of irony, is having an impact on the autonomous trucking industry. But two startups have launched new training programs intended to ensure they have the necessary manpower to make self-driving trucks a reality.
Autonomous trucks have the potential to fill the shortage of qualified truck drivers in America — which currently stands a 50,000 and could grow to 175,000 by 2026, according to The American Trucking Associations — but today’s self-driving trucks still require at least one human behind the wheel. That means that even though autonomous startups are driving toward an autonomous future, they still need qualified humans today.
In order to attract talent from a dwindling workforce, autonomous truck startups TuSimple and Starsky Robotics have announced new driver training programs intended to offer a career path into a driverless future.
TuSimple, which recently completely a trial run with the United States Postal Service, has partnered with Pima Community College to offer a program that would give graduates the title of autonomous vehicle driver and operations specialist. According to Automotive News, TuSimples will give graduates of the program hiring preference.
Starsky Robotics, meanwhile, announced its own three-step program intended to train today’s over-the-road drivers to become safety drivers of autonomous trucks.
Both programs are in their infancy, so there are no enrollment figures at this time.
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