Are autonomous trucks the answer to the driver shortage?

Nov 09 | 2021

Deputy Editor David Jordan looks at how emerging technologies may shape the future of road transport.

Are autonomous trucks the answer to the driver shortage?

Whenever I switch on the TV or radio these days, there’s someone banging on about the shortage of HGV drivers. Although the situation in the UK is particularly acute, with an estimated shortfall of 100,000 drivers, things in Europe and the US are not much better and the knock-on effects are beginning to bite.

Here in England, there are gaps on supermarket shelves and only a few weeks ago nearly every petrol station in the land was sucked dry by panicking motorists spooked by the news that a handful of garages had been closed because of a driver shortage at BP. The government even brought in the army to help restore supplies. As Christmas approaches, pressure on supply chains is bound to increase, so a winter of shortages across other sectors could well be on the cards.

With an aging driver population – in the UK it’s around 55 – and many who join the profession leaving while in their 30s, the future for the industry looks bleak, at least in the short term.

So, what can be done? ...

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