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What about self-driving trucks?
Old 03-11-2017, 06:25 AM   #1
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What about self-driving trucks?

According to this map, as of 2014, more people in most U.S. states were truck drivers, than held any other job.

It certainly is a very common job in my part of the U.S., especially factoring in all those deliveries from all that online shopping I do.

I do wonder what will happen to the economy when those truck drivers aren't needed any more.

Also, how much power might the Teamsters Union have to prevent self-driving trucks from becoming reality?

Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State : Planet Money : NPR
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:27 AM   #2
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Well clearly the folks who will benefit from eliminating those jobs will apply whatever pressure they can to be able to do what they wish. It really comes down to where will the power rest when the time comes, with the folks who benefits from eliminating jobs war with the folks who have jobs.
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:35 AM   #3
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Very interesting! We use more people to move stuff around than to make them.

This is similar to what happens in computer programs. A majority of the CPU instructions is for copying and moving data from one location to another, not operating on them, like adding, multiplying, merging them, etc...
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:47 AM   #4
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That's an interesting perspective on computer programming. Absolutely true. It doesn't even occur to me because in my mind the data that the computer manages is only really needed at the end when people are reviewing it.
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:59 AM   #5
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According to this map, as of 2014, more people in most U.S. states were truck drivers, than held any other job.

It certainly is a very common job in my part of the U.S., especially factoring in all those deliveries from all that online shopping I do.

I do wonder what will happen to the economy when those truck drivers aren't needed any more.

Also, how much power might the Teamsters Union have to prevent self-driving trucks from becoming reality?

Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State : Planet Money : NPR
I think this change is inevitable, teamsters or not. Self-driving trucks will arrive sooner than self-driving cars, in my opinion because they tend to use mostly interstates and major highways. Seems like that should reduce investment on infrastructure to support the self-driving capabilities
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:59 AM   #6
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First steps Self-driving trucks will hit the road in Ohio - CBS News

But a long, long way to go.

Some (big/heavy) things will ship in trucks and planes. Some little things may ship on drones instead of trucks. 3D printers will eliminate the need to ship some things.

Who knows, maybe one day when your car rolls off an assembly line, it'll come to your house without any driver, truck or train - unless its made in Europe/Asia.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:01 AM   #7
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Maybe I'll have a self-driving house.

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First steps Self-driving trucks will hit the road in Ohio - CBS News

But a long, long way to go.

Some (big/heavy) things will ship in trucks and planes. Some little things may ship on drones instead of trucks. 3D printers will eliminate the need to ship some things.

Who knows, maybe one day when your car rolls off an assembly line, it'll come to your house without any driver, truck or train - unless its made in Europe/Asia.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:39 AM   #8
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This is something I have thought about quite a bit. The outfit I retired from was in this segment and the driver shortage was always a top issue.

Driving is one of the easier ways for someone to go into business as an owner-operator ranging from driving for Uber to driving a semi.

Currently major truck OEMs do have self driving units under evaluation, but I expect a human monitor will be required for a long, long time. There's just too much potential damage that an 80,000 lb mass traveling at high speed can cause. Existing logistic systems that use large trucks between population centers could easily adopt self driving vehicles (with human monitors) to operate between distribution centers and use smaller vehicles for delivery to individual addressees. Semi-truck drivers are subject to strict time of duty restrictions (similar to pilots) that could be relaxed with self driving technology.

Daimler puts first self-driving semi-truck on road - CBS News

I keep wondering how long we'll have USPS and FEDex and UPS and all the others driving separate vehicles into our neighborhood multiple times per day.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:52 AM   #9
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Here in CT, we have a 12 mile busway from New Britain to Hartford, which is a special road that only buses travel on. I think it has an entrance and exit only at the two ends, although there are stations/stops along the way. That would seem ripe for automation.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:18 AM   #10
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Having self-driving Trucks Only on certain thoroughfares seems like it won't be enough of a critical mass to bring about the widespread adoption needed to make the technology affordable.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:26 AM   #11
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Well clearly the folks who will benefit from eliminating those jobs will apply whatever pressure they can to be able to do what they wish. It really comes down to where will the power rest when the time comes, with the folks who benefits from eliminating jobs war with the folks who have jobs.
I saw the technology shift in the back office. Much of the work I did in the late '80s with document management and processes became the way to eliminate many data entry jobs over the next decade or more.

That was easy as it was only the "company" wanting to lower costs.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:28 AM   #12
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Having self-driving Trucks Only on certain thoroughfares seems like it won't be enough of a critical mass to bring about the widespread adoption needed to make the technology affordable.
The trials on certain thoroughfares are designed to be another step in trialing the technology, not the intended future condition. After trials under fully controlled conditions exhaust what that can tell them, trials on public roads with less traffic and fewer challenges seems like a logical next step, before moving on to more congested and more challenging real world situations.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:34 AM   #13
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In addition to how that provides a way to prove in the technology technically, it also provides a path by which the logistical changes can be slipped in. "It's only a few routes, under certain conditions." Then, "It's only a few more jobs affected." Death of the career by a thousand cuts.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:52 AM   #14
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Driver Assistance for big rigs makes a lot of sense. They spend more hours on the road, so the investment is utilized more, and these are mainly on highways, which don't present as many variations and issues as local/urban driving.

Here's where I think they could do some good - I'm going to stick mostly with the 'involved driver assistance' that I was talking about in the car thread, rather than letting the driver relax. But here's an opportunity that could allow some of that, with added benefits:

Trains get some of their fantastic fuel efficiency from the lower air drag of those cars all being in a line. So imagine a 'train' of 'smart trucks' that could talk to each other. One takes the lead, the driver is involved, with assistance, and several trucks are allowed to tuck in behind him. The smarts could keep them within a foot of each other. And one at the end, also with an involved driver (and maybe he has a view ahead from camera on the lead trucks). These trucks would have flashing lights to signal they are in a 'smart train' configuration.

With a lead, and a caboose, and limited to specific stretches of highway (disabled if there is construction, an accident, or other complication), those middle drivers could take a snooze. And they could rotate if the lead or caboose wants a break. At anytime, one in the train could announce they are ready to break away, for their exit or any reason. And others could join the train. An Uber-like app could help schedule the 'trains'.

They'd take up less space on the road, would all be travelling the same speed, and the conditions could be tightly controlled. I think this makes more sense as a first step than passenger car autonomy, with all its variations.

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Old 03-11-2017, 12:07 PM   #15
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Here in CT, we have a 12 mile busway from New Britain to Hartford, which is a special road that only buses travel on. I think it has an entrance and exit only at the two ends, although there are stations/stops along the way. That would seem ripe for automation.
Sounds like a railway w/o the rails.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:09 PM   #16
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According to this map, as of 2014, more people in most U.S. states were truck drivers, than held any other job.

It certainly is a very common job in my part of the U.S., especially factoring in all those deliveries from all that online shopping I do.

I do wonder what will happen to the economy when those truck drivers aren't needed any more.

Also, how much power might the Teamsters Union have to prevent self-driving trucks from becoming reality?

Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State : Planet Money : NPR
Not sure why they'd list only primary school teachers & not include hs teachers in same grouping.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:52 PM   #17
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Heck, why not just go back to railroads? With trucks for the near-in trips.

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One takes the lead, the driver is involved, with assistance, and several trucks are allowed to tuck in behind him. The smarts could keep them within a foot of each other. And one at the end, also with an involved driver (and maybe he has a view ahead from camera on the lead trucks). These trucks would have flashing lights to signal they are in a 'smart train' configuration.

With a lead, and a caboose, and limited to specific stretches of highway (disabled if there is construction, an accident, or other complication), those middle drivers could take a snooze. A

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Old 03-11-2017, 01:05 PM   #18
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For as long as I can remember self driving technology was focused on intelligent roadways using sensors embedded in the pavement and now poof...technology is eliminating the need to embed sensors and using on-board systems to control the vehicle.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:17 PM   #19
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Heck, why not just go back to railroads? With trucks for the near-in trips.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:59 PM   #20
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One assist for trucks that I do wonder why it is not there is rear vision cameras on the trailer. Apparently backing a semi up is quite a skill. Basically you would put hooks on the side of the trailer (or cables) that the cameras were connected to. Big tow trucks already have them, to watch the towed vehicle.
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