On December 5, 2021, Ariel Wolf was featured in a Q&A with Automotive News on the federal guidelines needed to expand self-driving truck testing and deployment options. The following is an excerpt:
Q: What do we need for this to be viable across the U.S.?
A: The impacts of the supply chain crisis and the lack of truck drivers are one of the bottlenecks standing in the way of job creation. We're short 80,000 drivers now. That was a problem before the pandemic, but it's projected to be even worse in the coming year because the average truck driver is in their 50s. There are a lot of types of trips and routes — long haul, city driving, local deliveries — so given the shortage, there's plenty of room in the trucking ecosystem for autonomous trucks to be involved.
With that backdrop, policymakers and regulators really have to move past misconceptions about autonomous trucking and where it fits in with this ecosystem and understand that truck drivers and autonomous trucks can coexist, while together supporting the entire supply chain and the U.S. economy. From there, a federal framework for broad deployment will be helpful. Americans also need states to initiate rule-makings that permit testing and deployment for autonomous trucks.