SAN JOSE, Calif. — A new study released by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation finds that the impact of automated trucking in California would increase the state’s economy by upwards of $6.5 billion or more, as well as grow wages and employment for workers without prompting mass driver layoffs.
In fact, the report finds that the automated trucking industry could generate up to 2,400 new jobs in California.
The report ran simulations to determine the economic impacts of adopting automation in long-haul trucking in California under “slow,” “medium” and “fast” adoption scenarios. Deployment of autonomous long-haul trucking would, among other things:
- Increase real GDP and welfare in California by up to 0.35 percent annually, equivalent to nearly $7.9 billion of 2019 GDP under the “fast” adoption scenario. Under the “slow” adoption, growth is still approximately 0.28 percent relative to baseline, equivalent to about $6.5 billion of 2019 GDP.
- Increase output of the “for-hire” trucking industry by 4 percent.
- Increase California’s total employment by approximately 2,400 jobs.
- Avoid layoffs of California’s truck drivers.
- Lead to improved fuel efficiency and reductions in fatalities and safety costs.
“Autonomous trucks offer unique opportunities to generate significant economic growth and create well-paying new jobs in California,” Ahmad Thomas, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Executive Director of the SVLG Foundation, said.
“Now it’s time for the Golden State to do what it does best: drive innovation through policy action that will create jobs, add capacity and resilience to our supply chains, enhance road safety, spur productivity, and begin investing in the workforce of the future.”
The report was authored by Robert Waschik of Victoria University, Melbourne, who previously completed a similar paper commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation on “Macroeconomic Impacts of Automated Driving Systems in Long-Haul Trucking.”
His study for the U.S. Department of Transportation found a similar positive economic impact for the United States nationwide: up to 35,100 jobs per year and more than $68 billion in GDP.
“With the existing driver shortage, our findings indicate that there is plenty of room for autonomous trucks to fill in gaps in the trucking industry and support all sectors of the California economy,” Waschik said.
The study’s “fast” scenario is ultimately not possible to achieve because it assumes that autonomous trucks would have been deployed in 2021. Regulations currently prohibit autonomous long-haul trucks from full-scale testing or deploying in California.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) plans to meet with California legislators and regulatory agencies to share more about the findings of the report. SVLG is a member of the California Alliance for Freight Innovation to work with California lawmakers, regulators, and the public to foster innovation and advancement in freight transportation and promote the safe testing and deployment of autonomous trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.
The full report is available online here.
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