New Tesla Self-Driving Electric Semi-Truck, Helpful or Hazardous?

There is no doubt that fossil fuels are a finite resource. However, the date they fully diminish is often up to debate or experimental interpretation. Some scientists say that there are only 50 years of oil left, some people say that we will never run out of oil, and some people think we should go back to horse-drawn vehicles. Whatever anybody’s stance is, we are using oil now and will continue to do so for the next few years at least. Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, however, has other plans for this resources future.

As the industry leader in electronic luxury vehicles, Tesla has made a name for itself redefining how people take to the road in style. The company is not stopping at the higher end of the vehicle market, however. Recent news indicates that the company is looking to expand into the commercial vehicle market towards the end of this year. Still, in its prototype stage, Reuters reports that the vehicle will only be able to transport on the low end of the spectrum of what professional truckers refer to as “long-haul” trucking. This means that the electric truck can only travel for a maximum of 300 miles on a full battery charge. There is also no sleeper berth in the back of the cabin, so they are for day operation only. Beyond the technical capabilities of these vehicles, the main aspect of their hardware that is causing the most buzz-worthy news is the self-driving capabilities of the vehicle. While this may initially seem like an amazing idea, the implications of this come to a head in a legal nightmare. In the unfortunate case of a collision involving one of the trucks, there is the age-old case of who is at fault? Is Tesla held accountable for their programming? Is the trucking company owning the vehicle held accountable since it’s their property? Or is the person hit at fault since they are the only person technically involved? With a barrage of almost philosophical level questions, it can seem like there is a lot of mental work that needs to be done before these vehicles become commonplace.

While these trucks seem like a good idea, there is a lot of liability that comes with them. A computer can never fully replace a human behind the wheel. According to TBS Factoring Services, the demands for all kinds of truck loads from flat beds to reefers have been increasing by at least 70% each in the past year. This means that even with the news of electric trucks on the horizon, the economy’s faith in the trucking industry is holding strong. The market knows that fringe technology takes decades to develop fully and trucking can only grow.

There are always extensive trials and testing that need to be passed in order for new ideas to become commonplace. While electric cars are the inevitable next step in vehicles, self-driving cars are still science fiction.


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