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F3 chat: Humans will always have roles in trucking

No matter how good robots drive, they won’t take over trucking industry

This fireside chat recap is from Day 3 of FreightWaves’ F3 Virtual Experience.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Tracking autonomous trucking regulation.

DETAILS: No matter how great their ideas for improving regulations to support driverless trucking, the nascent autonomous vehicle industry is stuck with rules written for humans to conduct every operation inside and outside the truck. 

SPEAKER: Finch Fulton, vice president of policy and strategy, Locomation.

BIO: Fulton joined autonomous trucking convoy developer Locomation 10 months ago after serving since 2020 as deputy assistant secretary of transportation policy managing an office of 40 people, an annual budget of $2 billion in grants and $26 million in program and administrative costs.

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“I expect there to be significant changes in the way truck drivers are paid more to the by-the-hour approach that we’ll see in the near future.”

“There’s always going to be a world where on some routes or some cargo for some customers, you’re going to want a human present and in the loop. Humans are pretty clever if you get down to it.”

“If everyone knows how to answer a rule and what the end result is going to be, and everyone agrees on it, it takes about a year to a year and a half to work through this regulatory process. Not everyone agrees on everything, and groups like organized labor and even the owners and independent operators group are against it because they are worried about what it means for them. They aren’t on the sidelines, they’re opposing this.”

One Comment

  1. As a owner Operator I’d like to know why anyone would want a robot behind the wheel of a truck pulling 80,000 ? If people from another country can hack into our machines at the state department what makes them think they can’t hack a robot in the truck and cause damage. Just curious

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.