This “driverless” added cost might, soon, not be so big anyway when considering a truck driven by a professional driver.
In a 1st step, a driver will have to be present, but the driverless functionality will be a great help for him. Legally, he might even be allowed to drive longer in the day, which would improve its productivity from its employer point of view. The overall balance between cost of driverless feature and improved productivity due to assisted driving would then very soon tilt in favor of driverless trucks.
In a ultimate step (step 3), a driver might not even be needed (technically and legally). At this stage we can expect driverless functionality to be well below a truck driver’s yearly cost.
Driverless trucks are most mature in Australia mines
Before having driverless trucks on our road, they will arrive very soon or are already there in controlled environments such as mines. In these “closed” environments V2V or V2I technologies make sense as opposed to regular highway.
Typically in Australia where Rio Tinto is using some Komatsu’s driverless trucks and Autonomous Haulage System—Komatsu's Pioneering Technology Deployed at Rio Tinto Mine in Australia.
Talking about another mining project in South Australia from Iron Road Limited:
Despite all he has achieved, Mr Scholz (Wudinna’s mayor) realises without the mine Wudinna faces an increasingly difficult future. "They will have driverless tractors within 10 years and if the trend continues we won't be able to sustain our community," he said.
Truck driver might not be a job with a great future anymore.