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Autonomous Trucking 142

An anonymous reader writes We've heard about all the effort going into self-driving cars, but what about the massive fleet of trucks we use to deliver goods around the country? Well, Mercedes is trying to tackle that problem. They have just demonstrated an autonomous 18-wheeler on the German Autobahn. It's clearly a long-term project; they named it "Future Truck 2025," as an unsubtle reminder that this tech needs a lot of development before it's ready for common use. "Special cameras and multiple radar systems watch the road, the sides of the road, and cars and trucks behind the vehicle. Future Truck is also envisioned to communicate with other vehicles and connect to growing sources of online information as Big Data balloons on the road. ... Many of the component parts to put a vehicle like this into production are already available in trucks on the market: Systems that help drivers keep their distance from other drivers, active braking assistance, guidance and mapping systems, and fine-tuned cruise control and tons of other hi-tech tchotchke."
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Autonomous Trucking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:19AM (#47388323)

    Why not just start with self driving trains. It would be a whole lot simpler for much the same result.

  • Prepare Now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:45AM (#47388451)
    Yes, autonomous drivers are a wonderful invention but no one is focusing on the social changes that must take place. We are eliminating employment at an ever increasing pace. If we fail to make provisions for keeping people above water without regard to whether they work or not we are going to bring down our society into the worst collapse of all times. If we generate poverty we will generate rebellion and chaos. Meanwhile we have people chained to dogmas who are in denial about what is occurring. And here we have China 3D printing ten homes in a day with one fairly small machine. The trades are about to take a really hard hit.
  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @11:51AM (#47388473) Homepage

    It's not just that out-of-work truckers must look for skilled positions, but rather that skilled people have had to get work as truckers.

    I'm an avid hitchhiker, travelling some 20 thousand kilometres a year mostly around Europe, and so I regularly meet truckers who are bored on their routine journeys and want someone to chat with. Early on I had to overcome my stereotype, fostered by films and television shows set mainly in the US, that truckers are blue-collar slobs. A lot of truck drivers in Eastern Europe are educated people (e.g. geologists, electronics engineers, ) who only turned to truck driving because it was one of the only reliable jobs in the economic downturn of the 1990s. One of my most recent drivers had a degree in chemistry but decided that life in a lab wasn't for him, and in his poor country driving for a foreign-owned logistics company was better pay anyway.

  • Re:Rail? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2014 @12:42PM (#47388715) Homepage

    When I said "the Balkans", I was thinking about countries after Bulgaria. Turkey does a lot of trade with Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia, but rail in that area is usually less efficient than truck.

    Turkish drivers and their unions do not want to pay. Instead they cause incidents daily, run cars off the road, and kill people, violate required rest periods etc...

    Stereotyping everyone on the basis of a minority of bad apples isn't fair. I live in Romania, and I hitchhike across Bulgaria to Turkey (or go to Serbia first and then cross Bulgaria to Turkey) a couple of times every year, and I can't say that my Turkish drivers have been worse than anyone else. They've all obeyed the tachograph and stop when they are required to (which can be frustrating for a hitchhiker who wants to keep moving), and in the summer when all trucks must stop during the day so as to not damage the hot, soft asphalt, they pull into one of their innumerable little roadside Turkish cafés that remind me of merchant colonies of old.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10