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A future without truck accidents will be here soon

Written by Steve Gursten Posted June 16th, 2015

Peterbuilt highlights safety technology transformation with its new trucks: the “Symbiotux” driverless truck and the “Super Truck”

Peterbuilt Supertruck

Last week, I wrote about the first driverless truck that’s legally allowed to hit the road in Nevada.

And just a few weeks before, I was speaking at the Advanced Motor Vehicle 3.0 seminar in Las Vegas on what personal injury law will look like in the age of Google cars and driverless technology.  In a wonderful way, law firms like our own Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable will no longer be needed in a future when human error is removed and the incidence of preventable trucking accidents drops to nearly zero.

This is the future. And in trucking, we’re getting close to a world where commercial motor vehicles can essentially run 24 hours, seven days a week, barring maintenance and loading. There will no longer be hours of service in a world where there are no  humans behind the wheel.

Incidentally, it’s these facts, the huge driver shortage in the trucking industry today, and the enormous economic incentive for drivers that has led me to believe it’s the trucking industry that will be among the first to adopt widespread driverless technology first.

Now, here’s a cool vision of the commercial truck in 15 years, courtesy of Peterbuilt (hint: it’s autonomous and more):

This video is from Peterbilt’s entry in the LA Auto Show design challenge last year, with its idea of how vehicles and people will interact in 2029. Peterbilt’s concept entry, called “Symbiotux,” is essentially driverless cars and trucks that communicate with one another, all while sensing the needs of their passengers via their body temperatures and positioning, according to a recent article on truckinginfo.com, “Peterbuilt Highlights Technology Transformation.”

The interior would use nanotechnology and biomonitoring to adapt the environment to the driver’s needs. For example, a smart seat could sense a tight muscle in a driver’s leg or back and adjust the ergonomics of the seat to compensate.

Imagine that. Peterbuilt’s vision caters to human needs first, making interactive connections between human to vehicle, vehicle to vehicle and human to human.

Peterbuilt’s new “Super Truck”

Two decades ago, Peterbilt was primarily known for its classic truck designs that appealed to owner-operators and small fleets. But as the video above shows, the company is evolving with the latest technology and fuel economy.

During its Technology Showcase May 28 at its plant in Denton, Texas, Peterbuilt rolled out its truck “Super Truck” (Model 579), which offers:

  • A greater level of fuel efficiency.
  • A 58-inch sleeper box.
  • Aerodynamic fairings, such as new Predictive Cruise technology, which uses GPS data to ensure the engine and transmission are operating in the most efficient mode, working in tandem with neutral coast technology that allows trucks to coast down hills at idle.
  • A laser alignment system that improves accuracy 10 fold.

I’m a truck accident lawyer. Not an ad man for Peterbuilt. The reason I’m writing about these new developments is because they all lend themselves to safer trucks – which means less crashes due to faulty and unreliable equipment.

Peterbilt is also continuing to work on autonomous vehicles, and has worked with Walmart to design a working driverless truck.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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