The objective of the project has been to explore how a transition to driverless trucks could happen.
Based on different scenarios for the large-scale introduction of automated road freight transport the study makes recommendations to help governments manage potential disruption and ensure a just transition for affected drivers.
Driverless trucks could be a regular presence on many roads within the next ten years. Self-driving trucks already operate in controlled environments like ports or mines, and trials on public roads are under way in many regions. Manufacturers are investing heavily into truck-automation technology while many governments are actively reviewing their regulations to understand what changes would be required to allow self-driving vehicles on public roads.
Automated trucks would enable cost savings, lower emissions and safer roads. They could also address the emerging shortage of professional drivers faced by the haulage industry, particularly in Europe.
Without driverless trucks, around 6.4 million truck drivers are projected to be needed across Europe and US by 2030, yet fewer than 536 million are projected to be available and willing to work under current conditions. The majority of truckers are in the later stages of their careers, while few women and young men are choosing trucking as a profession.
The adoption of driverless trucks is likely to reduce demand for drivers at a faster rate than a supply shortage would emerge. Of the 6,4 million driver jobs in 2030, between 3,4 and 4,4 million would become redundant if driverless trucks are deployed quickly. Even accounting for prospective truck drivers being progressively dissuaded by the advent of driverless technology, over 2 million drivers across the US and Europe could be directly displaced by 2030 in some of the scenarios examined for this study.