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Autonomous tech firm envisages office-bound truck drivers

Truck drivers in Colorado and across the country may soon be able to operate their vehicles from offices hundreds or even thousands of miles away using remote control kits developed by a startup autonomous vehicle technology company. San Francisco-based Starsky Robotics is leaving the development of autonomous highway and city driving technology to companies like Embark and Otto, and the firm is focusing instead on providing truck drivers with remote access during the delicate terminal to final destination phase.

Much has been written recently about the impact that automation could have on the logistics sector and how truck drivers may soon be losing their jobs to autonomous technology, but Starsky Robotics believes that human operators will remain a part of the trucking industry for years to come. The company's co-founder says that challenges have been approached from a trucking rather than a purely technological perspective, and he maintains that the firm's mission is to help truck drivers and not to replace them.

The company's technology can be retrofitted to existing commercial vehicle fleets, and it allows experienced drivers to spend less time on the nation's highways and more time handling complex delivery maneuvers. Starsky Robotics is looking for drivers with at least five years of experience as it continues to test the equipment, which was used in February to control a tractor-trailer for about 85 percent of a 140 mile trip.

While the development of remote control final mile systems may be good news for logistics companies, it is highway driving automation that will likely save the lives of the most road users. Fatigued, impaired or distracted drivers cause thousands of semi truck accidents each year, and experienced personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies on behalf of those who suffer injuries against either negligent commercial vehicle owners or reckless truck drivers.Source: Fortune, This Driverless Truck Startup Is Putting Human Drivers to Work, Kirsten Korosec, Feb. 28, 2017

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