It seems hard to believe. “The Death of American Highways” Really? How is that even remotely possible? If you take away the infrastructure that supports the highway system then it goes away. And to be clear I’m not talking about the concrete. I’m talking about the jobs that exist around our interstates. And its starts with the truck drivers. There are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to estimates by the American Trucking Association and Daimler just released the worlds first autonomous truck on May 6, 2015. So at some point, we won’t need those 3.5 million truck drivers.
If we don’t need those 3.5 million truck drivers we probably don’t need the entire system of businesses scattered across our highways that support those drivers. And not just those giant truck stops but all the motels and restaurants and other businesses that cater to these drivers. Some will say Im being overly dramatic but have you ever driven across country on the old roads that people used before the highways? You can still the towns that were abandoned as the traffic died down. It took a few decades but eventually those small towns faded into just an intersection. The same will happen at the exits of our interstates. Sure it will take time but there’s no question that autonomous trucks are the future. Check out the savings from them drafting in a pack like NASCAR. This is will be the future of our interstates.
So the question is what happens to our highways when the 3.5 million truck drivers are no longer in the trucks? Daimler says they need to put a million miles on this design over the next decade so it will take some time to implement, but it really is just a matter of time. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this video about the world´s first licensed autonomous heavy-duty truck allowed to use public roads.