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Remote technology could improve opportunities for truck drivers

Commercial vehicle drivers in Mississippi and around the country may soon be able to perform delicate loading and unloading maneuvers from remote office locations thanks to technology developed by a San-Francisco-based startup technology company. Starsky Robotics has developed a remote control kit that can be retrofitted to conventional semi-tractor trailer fleets. The company claims that their system will provide additional employment opportunities for experienced truck drivers rather than less.

Companies like Otto and Embark are developing autonomous technology for commercial vehicles that can cope with the demands of highway and city driving, but Starsky Robotics has chosen to focus instead on systems that can take on the more complex maneuvers often called for in terminals, depots and dispatch facilities. The system relies on data captured by front and side mounted cameras and radar. Drivers in remote locations will be able to steer, accelerate and brake using control layouts they are familiar with.

Testing of the system has so far been carried out mainly in trucking yards and depots, but a driver used the system in February to autonomously control a tractor-trailer for 85 percent of a 140 mile trip. A driver was present in the vehicle's cab during the test, but the company expects to be conducting tests using drivers in remote locations by the end of the year.

Autonomous truck technology could greatly reduce truck accident injuries and deaths by cutting down or eliminating reckless behavior like distracted, impaired and fatigued driving. Even some conventional trucks now feature advanced accident prevention and avoidance systems. Those who suffer injury, loss or damage due to the careless actions of others may pursue civil remedies, and experienced personal injury attorneys could initiate litigation against negligent logistics companies or reckless truck drivers.

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