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Autonomous Driving Goes to School

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Truck driving is getting the academic treatment. Well, not exactly true truck driving. On Thursday registration will kick off for an autonomous driver certificate program at Pima Community College. That’s right, truck driving is going to school, and right here in Tucson!

Classes for the course will begin this September. The course is actually the brainchild of both Pima and the self-driving truck company, TuSimple. In this Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist class, drivers will get schooled on skills that will enable them to grow their roles in this new industry. This comes courtesy of a Pima and TuSimple joint news release.

By earning this certificate, students will prepare themselves to become teachers. They can then train others how to operate this autonomous system. Plus, they’ll be able to teach them what situations might not be appropriate for autonomous driving. Not only that, they’ll learn how to oversee the system from a satellite command center.

What’s even better, is that experienced drivers can earn a certificate in as short a time as one single semester. There are some requirements however. To enroll in the program you must possess a Class A Commercial Driver’s License before signing up for the class. They can’t be getting it while they’re already enrolled.

The Autonomous Driving Curriculum

By combing forces, TuSimple and Pima Community College have developed a curriculum for the certificate program. It’s composed of 5 courses. They are: Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles, Industrial Safety, Computer Hardware Components, Electrical Systems I, and Transportation and Traffic Management. Even better , TuSimple will make hiring graduates of the program a top concern. In fact, graduates will go to the top of the list for jobs at their Tucson testing and development center.

“It’s clear that the future of truck transportation will offer new employment opportunities for today’s drivers, but it will require a set of new skills,” said Lee Lambert, chancellor of Pima Community College.

What do you all think? Is this new venture worthwhile?

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