Driverless cars may become fairly common across the country in the near future. Touted as being helpful for those with disabilities, the elderly, and folks with driving impairments, driverless cars could help connect people with resources that could improve their lives. Now the technology is being applied to tractor trailers. Driverless trucks could also help communities across the country connect with resources as deliveries could be programmed to a schedule.
California-based startup Otto is developing a driverless truck system. The system is a kit that can be installed on 18-wheelers manufactured in and after 2013. The kit converts the commercial trucks into driverless vehicles. As truck companies face strict safety regulations, from inspections to hours-of-service restrictions, the kit could offer companies a way to manage round-the-clock deliveries without violating a truck driver's work hour limitations. At the same time, the kit provides ways of setting speed and lane limitations to prevent speeding and drifting, things that could occur with a human driver who is fatigued, distracted, or under the influence.
Although North Carolina currently does not have legislation in place regulating self-driving vehicles, it is home to test sites for these vehicles. According to the New York Observer, Fort Bragg in Fayetteville was selected as a test site for self-driving cars.
Creators of driverless cars cite the safety a computer-directed system grants passengers and others on roadways. Google, for example, is a pioneer in self-driving car manufacturing. The Google Self-Driving Car Project sets forth to make a 'safer way for everyone to get around.' Of course, the most careful drivers--including computer systems--are still at risk of traffic dangers, like other drivers. In data released earlier this year, even Google's driverless vehicles were involved in about a dozen minor accidents that were all attributed to another driver's fault.