first_imgMembers of the U.S. Senate will meet next week to talk self-driving trucks.Led by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a hearing of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation aims to “examine the benefits of automated truck safety technology as well as the potential impacts on jobs and economy.”Tune in to a live stream of the hearing on Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. Eastern to hear “expert testimony” from National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear, and Colorado State Patroller Col. Scott Hernandez, among others.“Self-driving technology for trucks and other large vehicles has emerged as a pivotal issue in Congress’ attempt to help usher in a new era of transportation,” Thune said in a statement.The event will also examine the pros and cons of excluding trucks from legislation affecting passenger cars.Commercial trucks have so far been kept separate from the government’s efforts to accelerate autonomous vehicle technology—including Wednesday’s unanimous vote by the House of Representatives to increase existing permit caps.The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution (“SELF DRIVE”) Act would boost current restrictions on self-driving cars, allowing manufacturers to release 25,000 autonomous vehicles in the first year, and up to 100,000 annually three years later.There is a big difference, though, between colliding with a 4,000-pound sedan and a 20,000-pound freighter.Industry leaders and union members, however, are more preoccupied with the eventuality of self-driving technology replacing millions of human motorists—men and women who make a living from the driver’s seat.That hasn’t stopped Uber, Volvo, or Waymo, all of which are eyeing truck automation.Consumers, meanwhile, are warming up to the idea of self-driving vehicles. A recent study found that folks are willing to pay, on average, anywhere between $1,200 and $6,600 for partial and full automation, respectively.last_img read more