“DUEL”, one of Steven Spielberg’s early films, features a lorry apparently controlled by demonic forces rather than a driver. The sensors, cameras and software already steering the wheels of some of the world’s lorries, in place of drivers, are regarded as a similarly malign power by truckers fearing replacement by technology.
But they have little reason to worry about the arrival of self-driving lorries, and the benefits of safer roads and cheaper shipping should be felt more widely than any pain from job losses for years to come.
Several firms have been working on driverless lorries. Rio Tinto, a commodities giant, has put them to work at one of its iron-ore mines in Australia, and Volvo will soon begin testing a self-driving truck at a mine in Sweden. Mercedes-Benz, Iveco and most other lorrymakers have plans for autonomous vehicles.
Read more: A long haul | The Economist