Sharing the Texas highways with 18-wheelers is already challenging enough. Now we may need to deal with those semis with nobody behind the wheel.

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Do You Want to Share the Road with Robots?

We've all had to deal with a 18-wheeler that doesn't seem to stay in his own lane on I-35 from time to time, but now we may have to trust that a driverless 18-wheeler is a better answer? Well, it may be happening sooner than you think, and it looks like our Southern Texas highways have become the testing ground.

The Lights are On But Nobody's Home

Autonomous vehicles are rising in popularity. Tesla may be the most popular driverless car on the market right now, but there are other companies that are working to make the self-driving vehicle safer and more reliable.

#EndTheStreak

According to Waymo, there were 36,096 road deaths in 2019, and 94% of those deaths were caused by human error.

Self-driving technology uses radar, laser scanners, cameras, and GPS antennas that communicate with piloting software meant to make it a safe experience.

Trucking partner development manager at Waymo, Pierre-François Le Faou, says, "Each time we drive a mile or a kilometer in real life, we re-simulate a thousand more times on the computer by changing hundreds of parameters."

Why the Lone Star State?

According to a report from APF, Texas passed laws in 2018 that gave driverless cars the same status as conventional vehicles.

The director at the Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems at Texas A&M University, Srikanth Saripalli, says, "You need insurance and you need to follow the rules of the road, but other than that Texas does not impose any other regulations."  

Drive Friendly - The Texas Way

Texas highways are already some of the most deadly in the U.S. According to TxDOT, Texas roadways have seen road deaths everyday for the last 21 years with more than 75,000 preventable deaths.

Advocates for driverless technology say self driving vehicles can be safer in the long run and prevent roadway deaths.

Help Wanted

Like so many other industries affected by the pandemic, truck drivers are also in short supply. Many drivers no longer want to make the cross country trips that keep them away for weeks at a time and are opting to stay home with their families instead.

CEO and co-founder of Embark Technology, Alex Rodrigues, says driverless trucks are a great way to combat those shortages, but says drivers would still be needed to drive those trucks from transfer points to their final destinations.

Still, a 2018 study by Steve Viscelli, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley. found that moving to self-driving semis would eliminate about 294,000 trucking jobs across the country.

Driverless Trucks Would Save $$

Of course, autonomous trucking would save the industry a lot of money and speed up the delivery of goods from point A to point B. According to Aurora, it takes a person three days to drive from Los Angeles to Dallas, but a driverless semi can make that same trip in 24 hours.

Embark says it would drop the cost from $1.76 per-mile, to $0.96 per-mile.

Do You Feel Safer Yet?

There are lots of pros and cons for driverless trucking, but do you feel any safer with these big rigs on the roads? How will you feel when they start rolling through Central Texas?

Put These 7 Things in Your Vehicle and Stay Safe This Winter in Central Texas

Let's take a look at some of the best-rated emergency items to keep in your car or truck, where you can find them, and how much they cost.

10 "Outside the Box" Ideas for Valentine's day

Celebrating Valentine's Day can be as simple as a nice card, flowers and a box of chocolates but if the expectation is for something bigger, and more creative, this list might help.

Although there is nothing wrong with dinner and a movie, let's take that idea a little further. Keep in mind, some pre-planning may be in order here but literally the sky is the limit.

There are so many ways to say "I Love You" to that special someone and for the sake of the "Outside the Box' definition, let's go with anything other than dinner and a movie.

Top 20 Restaurants Central Texans Wish Would Come to Temple

A while back, I asked the good people of Temple if they could picture a good restaurant to fill the lot on North General Bruce Drive where the soon to be torn down Long John Silver's stood.

This was before it was announced that a Dutch Bros. Coffee location would open there (which was one of the places I predicted as a contender in our article).

So now Dutch Bros. is open in that spot, but the responses to my survey were interesting because they paint a picture of just how diverse Temple's population is. People recommended some familiar restaurants with locations in the surrounding area, but also a few I'd never even heard of.

Here are the top 20 results of the survey. Let's see what the good people of Temple are craving!

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