Warren Buffett says autonomous trucks are a threat to his business

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Updated May 10, 2017
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Autonomous trucks, while touted for their potential to increase productivity and safety, are also a threat to insurance and railroad companies, according to Warren Buffett.

During the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting this past weekend in Omaha, Buffett said any emergence in the driverless truck market would be owed to safety appeal and would challenge his company’s massive holdings in Burlington Northern and Geico.

“I would say that driverless trucks are a lot more of a threat than an opportunity to the Burlington Northern,” Buffett reported during the meeting’s popular Q&A session which was live-streamed through Yahoo (see video below). “And I would say that if driverless trucks became pervasive, it would only be because they are safer, and that would mean that the overall economic cost of auto-related losses had gone down, and that would drive down the premium income of Geico. So I would say both of those: Autonomous vehicles widespread would hurt us, if they spread to trucks, and they would hurt our auto insurance business.”

Also during the meeting at CenturyLink Center, Buffett and his long-time partner Charlie Munger admitted to making some major investment blunders through the years, including passing on Google, Amazon and Walmart.

First quarter earnings for Berkshire Hathaway fell 27 percent.