Automated vehicles ‘not likely’ to displace trucking jobs, report says

August 10, 2018

Tyson Fisher


Trucking industry stakeholders have been at odds over how jobs will be affected by automated technology. A study led by Michigan State University looked into exactly that. Its findings: The number of trucking jobs will not be affected by automated vehicles much, if at all.

Commissioned by the American Center for Mobility and supported by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the MSU report said a significant amount of automated vehicles will not be deployed until the last half of the 2020s, and those vehicles will likely displace passenger car-based driving jobs.

However, the study said truck drivers aren’t likely to suffer the same fate.

“Automated vehicle technology could incorrectly be viewed as a change that will eliminate driving jobs; however, the more nuanced assessment is that over the next decade the innovation will foster broader societal changes resulting in shifts in the workplace and workforce demands,” Shelia Cotten, MSU Foundation professor of media and information, said in a statement. “Additionally, this level of advanced technology has the potential to lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in the engineering, data analysis, cybersecurity and vehicle ‘monitoring’ areas.”

That does not mean everything will remain the same. Soraya Kim, American Center for Mobility’s chief innovation officer, said in a statement that “substantial and multifaceted education and training efforts” will be required not only for the workforce, but also for the public when it comes to automated vehicles.

Christopher Poe, assistant director for connected and automated transportation strategy at Texas A&M Transportation Institute, said automated technologies will help truckers in safely operating trucks in the short term. Long term, training for truckers will be needed. The report suggests that certain industries will change “radically.”

The report calls for additional research, including input from drivers on what training they are interested in and quantifying the overall financial impact on the economy.


Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.