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Uber Study Says Self-Driving Trucks Will Result In More Truck Drivers, Not Less (theatlantic.com) 186

_Sharp'r_ writes: According to a new study by Uber's Advanced Technology Group, widespread adoption of self-driving trucks would happen primarily on long-haul routes. The increase in efficiency would lead to more goods being trucked, causing enough additional local delivery routes driven by humans to overall increase the need for truck drivers. Driver contracts may need to be updated to pay for more time spent waiting/delivering instead of physically driving. "Uber does not believe that self-driving trucks will be doing 'dock to dock' runs for a very long time," reports The Atlantic. "They see a future in which self-driving trucks drive highway miles between what they call transfer hubs, where human drivers will take over for the last miles through complex urban and industrial terrain."

As for how Uber came to this conclusion, they created a model of the industry's labor market based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. "Then, they created scenarios that looked at a range of self-driving-truck adoption rates and how often those autonomous trucks would be on the road in comparison to human-driven vehicles," reports The Atlantic. Uber also calculated the utilization rate of the self-driving trucks. "Basically, if the self-driving trucks are used far more efficiently, it would drive down the cost of freight, which would stimulate demand, leading to more business," reports The Atlantic. "And, if more freight is out on the roads, and humans are required to run it around local areas, then there will be a greater, not lesser, need for truck drivers."

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Uber Study Says Self-Driving Trucks Will Result In More Truck Drivers, Not Less

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  • Anyone checked this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mhkohne ( 3854 ) on Saturday February 03, 2018 @09:03AM (#56061425) Homepage

    Has anyone reputable checked their work? Because after all that Uber has done, I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if they fudged the numbers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, 2018 @09:39AM (#56061535)

      It seems counterintuitive, but remember, ATMs didnâ(TM)t kill the local banker; they number of banking cashiers and customer service personnel has skyrocketed.

      • by q_e_t ( 5104099 )
        Are you being sarcastic?
        • The jobs of the tellers and the versatility of the banks has changed. A lot of tellers used to do just what ATMs do. That job diminished (not vanished though, there are some who avoid ATMs). Today though there is a lot more activity at the bank other than depositing and withdrawing money. People are investing more as individuals, as there are more than just basic savings accounts being used by normal people. Tellers that went away were replaced with more financial consultants, mortgage professionals, and

      • The increase in the number of jobs in the banking industry probably has more to do with deregulating banks in Canada and the US to allow them to offer a much wider range of financial services. This happened at about the same time that banks were switching from human tellers to ATMs.

    • I wouldn't assume their numbers are fudged. I would assume their assumptions are flawed. Driving down the cost of freight spurring demand would be relevant if last mile freight was even remotely something that limited the purchase of goods.

    • There is some historical precedence to suggest that they're not just making up unreasonable nonsense. You can look back to the start of the industrial revolution and how increases in productivity changed markets that were limited by human labor capacity. A good example is the textile industry where machines were able to replace unorganized individual labors. People always wanted more shirts, more socks, more dresses, but they just couldn't afford them because human labor limited supply and made these goods
      • Except, pretty much everything we buy is already shipped across the country, if not halfway around the world. Industrialization radically reduced the manufacturing costs, dramatically increasing the buying power of the populace. Shipping costs though are already only a small fraction of the purchase price of most goods - cut shipping costs in half, and you only reduce purchase price by a few percent, and can thus only reasonably expect to increase sales by a few percent.

        • It's not just cutting shipping costs in half, it's increasing the capacity for things that can be shipped. The price of shipping isn't just the physical cost of transportation due to human labor, the vehicle required to do it, etc. but also the amount that purchasers of shipping are willing to pay for those services. If I produce some good and would like to expand my markets, I can only do so if I'm willing to pay more for shipping than those who are currently utilizing those services are currently paying.
          • Exactly - it reduces your shipping costs. You could already whatever you want shipped today, it would just cost a bit more, meaning you'd have to charge a bit more. There is no shipping capacity shortage in this country, except at any particular price point. If all you're doing is selling something that people wouldn't buy at a slightly higher price point, then you're not generating any extra wealth, you're just redirecting purchases that would have been made for something else instead.

            It makes absolutely

        • Bingo! You posted this before I finished my (carefully researched) post here which includes this crucial observation.

      • There is some historical precedence to suggest that they're not just making up unreasonable nonsense. You can look back to the start of the industrial revolution and how increases in productivity changed markets that were limited by human labor capacity. A good example is the textile industry where machines were able to replace unorganized individual labors. People always wanted more shirts, more socks, more dresses, but they just couldn't afford them because human labor limited supply and made these goods costly. Suddenly you had a situation where dozens or even hundreds of these individual laborers could be replaced by a single machine. You might think that this would cause mass unemployment, but it had the opposite effect. Because the cost of cloth and clothing fell, people started buying more of it and the increased demand from consumers resulted in a need for factories the hire more laborers.

        Except that did happen

        The factories only employed a very small fraction of the cottage manufacturers, and whom by the way were part of a highly organized piecework network of "putters out" and factors - a different sort of organization but not exactly "unorganized".

        Sure sales of thread and cloth (separate commodities at the time) skyrocketed (more on that in a moment). But employment in Britain was still devastated. The major occupation of thread spinning was wiped out in a decade between 1770 and 1780, wea

        • Dang it: Except that did NOT happen of course.

        • Yes, and when the automobile was invented it devastated carriage makers, ranchers raising horses, farriers, and all manner of other industries, but you're surely not saying that we should turn back the clock and eliminate automobiles. The world is always in flux and new innovation is always replacing something that previously existed and disrupting the economy as a result. You can look at any point in history and find examples such as telephone switchboard operators, ice cutters, chandlers, and countless ot
        • I can think of one area where reduced costs of long-haul trucking could result in exponentially greater utilization by consumers: storage. Especially if electric trucks had enough battery capacity to recharge in places where electricity is cheaper than nearby areas. Right now, we already HAVE "cube" storage... but the cubes themselves are still stored somewhere semi-nearby. If the cost of trucking those cubes 250 miles were only slightly greater than the cost of trucking those cubes 20 miles, instead of sto

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Except it took about 70 years or 3 generations for employment to recover. 3 generations of chronic unemployment with about the only saving grace being the new world, with lots of almost free land, to emigrate (or be deported to) to.
        Things were better during the automation that happened at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th, when the labour surplus was handled by things like child labour laws, shorter work weeks and changing women's role into stay at home moms leading to a smaller labour part

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Has anyone reputable checked their work? Because after all that Uber has done, I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if they fudged the numbers.

      To be honest this comes down to a lot of assumptions and I doubt you can read this out of the BLS data, which makes that sound a bit like name-dropping. Their primary assumption seems to be that there are many goods we don't transport today because the shipping costs are too high. When you look at all the cheap shit shipped all the way from China that looks implausible. The second thing I'm thinking is that a reduction in transit cost would primarily lead to longer transits, but whether it comes from 100 or

      • At current pay rates the industry is short 36,500 drivers [vice.com]. That's projected to get worse over time as the current drivers age out, because they're having a more and more difficult time replacing them with new drivers. Long haul trucking is a lousy long-term job, with many drivers away from home as much as 200 days out of the year. Those drivers would much rather work local routes, where they can go home at night.

        Effectively, the efficiency gains from self-driving trucks comes from "team" driving and convoys

    • Has anyone reputable checked their work?

      From The Atlantic article:

      In the end, every expert I talked to for this story, from the teamsters to academia, believes that the broad strokes of Uber’s analysis have some merit and represent a potential positive path for autonomous trucking to play in the labor market.

      You know a staff writer for a left-wing magazine [allsides.com] who is (for example) the author of "Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology" is going to do anything they can to come up wi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, 2018 @09:11AM (#56061451)

    and avoid the road congestion, and wear/tear on our publicly funded roads.

    or we could continue to set up our tax policy to favor subsidizing the trucking industry. Trucks should only be used for short deliveries and the start/beginnings of journeys to/from depots.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly the point I was going to state. This is known science and the solution was rail. Hub and spoke main lines. Local distributor from fixed points.

      Trucking arise from the belief Rockefeller and his family needed to sell more oil. Rail was too efficient for them to make more money so it had to die. Nothing more.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Rail doesn't deliver to the dock like that. On top of that, you'd have to start building new massive docks to bring everything in for local hauls. Then you're also going to have to convince every business around that JiT(Just in Time) transport is economically infeasible and it's cheaper to have giant warehouses full of things instead of rolling trucks from a centralized dock to smaller warehouses, then directly out to shipping. We've been down this road before, the reason why trucks are cheaper is becau

    • that made companies use trucks. It's because rail takes longer and needs more planing. The trend was started by Walmart because it lets them have no warehouses and keep the bare minimum amount of goods on hand instead of tying up cash with inventory. It also lets them keep only what sells on hand, avoiding discount sales and driving up the prices they can charge for what goods they do sell (since they don't have to clearance things that might be equivalents).

      That said, we probably could change our tax s
  • With all of the competition and millions and millions of miles of testing being done to get it right, why couldn't the machines run dock to dock? Aside from zero-visibility weather conditions (i.e., snow and torrential rain), the AI's already very good -- sometimes even better than people under the same conditions as we don't have GPS and a bunch of the other sensors these new vehicles have. I think this is anti-FUD by Uber; why, I'm not sure.
    • "the AI's already very good "

      It has to be a **LOT** better than "very good". If your truck runs over a 3rd grader walking to school, you're going to wish you'd thrown that Uber salesman under a moving eighteen-wheeler.

      That said, truck terminals could be, and likely will be, built with or at expressway entrances/exits

      As for job creation ... About as likely as the five million great green jobs Barack Obama promised us in 2008. Nothing against Obama -- I voted for him ... twice. He may well have been since

      • > "the AI's already very good "
        >
        > It has to be a **LOT** better than "very good". If your truck runs over a 3rd grader walking to school, > you're going to wish you'd thrown that Uber salesman under a moving eighteen-wheeler.

        Fortunately no human driver has ever run over a 3rd grader.

        • This might be a valid point once *anyone* can demonstrate an AI that actually does as well as a human in any circumstance. Otherwise they are all sounding a bit too hasty to use this technology.
          • An AI does not need to do as well as a human in any circumstance. A self-driving car only needs to do as a human driver in the circumstances where the self-driving car is being used. I doubt that there will be self-driving cars in Whitehorse until long after they are ubiquitous in Phoenix because the different nature of driving in those two cities. If an AI cannot operate a vehicle as well as a human in some environments then just don't use them in those environments.

            • So in other words, long distance truckers only need to worry about losing routes that are fully within the no-snow belt. Oh wait, didn't Florida get snow this year?
    • I think this is anti-FUD by Uber; why, I'm not sure.

      If the consensus view is that Uber will render human drivers obsolete and truck drivers unemployed then the odds are that various interest groups will organise and lobby to get regulatory changes to drive them out of business.

      So Uber have spent what to them is pocket change to fund studies showing more Uber robotrucks means more jobs of truck drivers. Whether that is true or not is irrelevant to them. However I bet if you ever see an Uber spokesperson asked about 'What will happen to truck drivers? Won't th

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Other factors need checking as well. Is the demand for freight actually limited currently by the cost of freight? After all, people only eat so much food, and if it suddenly costs half as much to receive it by freight, we won't suddenly eat twice as much.

        Second, is the price of freight driven by the cost of truckers, or is it "value priced". If the cost of long-haul truckers goes away, will the freight companies actually reduce their prices or will the shareholders and executives simply pocket the differenc

        • After all, people only eat so much food, and if it suddenly costs half as much to receive it by freight, we won't suddenly eat twice as much.

          I thought you were an American?

    • by HuguesT ( 84078 )

      Very good but not that good yet, aside from rigged demos.

  • by Hasaf ( 3744357 ) on Saturday February 03, 2018 @09:24AM (#56061497)

    Here is the problem, truck drivers make a descent middle class wage. They also support a wide number of ancillary jobs. There are also a large number of regulations in place to insure their, and the public's safety.

    Uber is, essentially, saying that nearly all of them can all become delivery drivers. The trouble there is that delivery drivers are often contract employees who, when all costs are considered, frequently earn less than the minimum wage. The also, frequently work more hours than is safe. Everyone pays for this.

    So, the best case is that we strip people out of one of the largest industries in America, and put them into sub minimum wag jobs. This ignores that the economy is driven by aggregate spending. Sure, for a while it looks good as prices are driven down and efficiency goes up. As long as people take on debt, trying to avoid the loss in lifestyle that will eventually come. However, the bill eventually comes due, we saw that in the Global Financial Crisis.

    We are seeing a slow train wreck and denying that it is crashing. This is happening because we, as a society, want to hold onto the myth that is "the magic of markets." The markets have never been able to work when left alone. The faith that they will, this time, is misguided.

    • by hipp5 ( 1635263 )

      Here is the problem, truck drivers make a descent middle class wage.

      And yet, not enough people want to do this job: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/09/576752327/trucking-industry-struggles-with-growing-driver-shortage [npr.org]

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        And yet, not enough people want to do this job:

        Two fold problem: First there's more freight being shipped then before. The other problem is in the US, the previous administration stacked on so many regulations, requirements, and so on that the average person simply refuses to put up with it. Burnout is common, not from the driving, but because of the absurd amount of regulations. If you have XM radio, listen to Road Dog Trucking the people driving during the call-in segments go on quite often how these regulations hurt them.

        Read this for example [usatoday.com].

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          The other problem is in the US, the previous administration stacked on so many regulations, requirements, and so on that the average person simply refuses to put up with it.

          Corporatist whackjobbery.

          Let's say you're going to be on for 10hrs/day, you pull into the dock and for whatever reason you spent 8hrs sitting there so you simply go to sleep. Well, under the new regulations that 8hrs sitting in the dock counts towards the time you're on the road.

          Oh, the horror. You're required to be on your job for eig

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            Corporatist whackjobbery.

            So you're not disputing anything I've said. Brilliant.

            Oh, the horror. You're required to be on your job for eight hours....and....it counts towards your work day!

            No, it counts towards your *driving day* not your work day. You work day could be as much as 15hrs/day. Think of it this way, you work a 9-5 job. You get up at 6am, and the clock now starts ticking. So, by 7-7:30 you're on the road, now you get stuck in traffic and don't roll in until 10. Now you've already burned through 4hrs of work time, and you have another 4hrs of work you're allowed to do. So you only get to work until 2pm. Then you get to

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        And yet, not enough people want to do this job:

        Not surprised... a relative of mine is a long haul truck driver, he's slept more nights in the sleeper berth at the back of this truck than in his real bed the last 20 years. Very often he's supposed to be somewhere at start of business or pick up before end of business so driving everything from early mornings to late evenings all according to the schedule and rest hours, which often eats into both Fridays and Sundays. Even nurses and doctors working shifts or pilots flying short haul typically get to go h

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        And yet, not enough people want to do this job for peanuts

        Fixed the corporatist speak for you. If there's a labor shortage, offer the labor more compensation and the "problem" will quickly take care of itself. This is just like all those "we have a nursing shortage" articles in local newspapers that miraculously never talk about hospitals and nursing homes offering more compensation to attract more employees.

    • A. You're right, and the article acknowledges that these jobs currently suck.
      B. Look again. This is a classic short-term analysis we see all the time on automation. Look forward past the first step. Improvements will increase in self-driving (probably very rapidly) until no one will be driving those local deliveries. Anyone actually on the truck will have a different job: security guard.

    • Uber is, essentially, saying that nearly all of them can all become delivery drivers.

      No, actually the article is saying that their jobs will change to involve less driving. As the article points out you need someone onboard the truck to make the occasional minor repair to keep things going. You do not want to have to send a tow truck hundreds of miles into the middle of nowhere for something really minor. The other thing which the article does not mention is security: thieves would probably find an automated truck very easy to stop and loot.

      What the article suggests is that truckers job

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        One of those changes would be getting paid a hell of a lot less. Nobody is going to pay double the cost of a truck just for the privilege of changing the trucker's job while paying him just as much as he makes driving the cheaper truck.

      • As the article points out you need someone onboard the truck to make the occasional minor repair to keep things going.

        The trucks are changing, and will require less repairs.

        The other thing which the article does not mention is security: thieves would probably find an automated truck very easy to stop and loot.

        It's just as easy to stop and loot a manned truck. You just point a gun at the driver, and they do whatever you say.

        What the article suggests is that truckers jobs will change.

        The truth is that trucks are going to change. There's no need for them to be quite so large if they don't have drivers. That won't happen right away, though, because the AV systems will still be expensive for some time.

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Saturday February 03, 2018 @10:39AM (#56061683) Journal

      I don't think so.

      The trucking business has been sub replacement-rate on drivers for at least a dozen years - since substantially before the 2007 crash. If truck drivers were making a "decent middle class wage" this wouldn't be the case. Route pricing has been flat for a decade and the industry itself is in a somewhat-ridiculous 28th quarter of contraction with 000's (yes, thousands) of trucking companies shuttering every quarter. (Note, most of these of course are single-person or 2-person "companies" of course. But there's a decent number of actual corps in that carnage too.)

      Older, experienced drivers have ALREADY largely left the business. Your typical truck driver today is an immigrant with something less than 30 hours of road time under his belt.

      I can certainly see the long-haul trucking business being automated, with trucks discharging into 'pools' outside metro areas, for a local 'pilot' to hop in and do the in-town delivery. That seems simple and makes perfect sense. You are right that 'courier' drivers do often make minimum wage or less, particularly when one considers the terrible sharecropping-equivalent lease-to-own programs they use to hook the ignorant. But local semi-truck drivers are a different deal: that's a pretty highly sought-after gig because you get a salary (not paid per mile like long-haulers, who have seen a direct cut to their income by about 30-40% thanks to Obama-era new safety requirements and ELD) and you get to have a home and family you see. Until now, the demand for them has largely been flat (no trucking company lives on local deliveries; it's all longhaul).

      What I think is interesting is IF this model goes into effect, this will incentivize the largest corporations to build their plants very remotely, near major arteries but far outside of urban development...in that sense, they could operate their own 'pools' and be an actual node on the system, meaning no need for the local delivery - but where would they get employees? And they'd still ultimately need to deliver their product into metropolises to the consumers.

      Economy-shaking, for sure.

      • I don't think so.

        Older, experienced drivers have ALREADY largely left the business. Your typical truck driver today is an immigrant with something less than 30 hours of road time under his belt.

        So no typical truck driver makes it to the second week?

        • If you think that the bulk of a driver's time is spent DRIVING you don't really even begin to understand what you're talking about.

          Typically there are 2 free hours to load, 2 free hours to unload at for every delivery (even if LTL), which means that run needs to be 200-250 miles to even be 50% of their time driving. And this is discounting the hours they may spend down (basically doing nothing) between last drop and next pick.

      • team driving still pays well, and even better if you own your own truck. Note that is 'own'. After the 2008 crash truck companies took advantage of drivers to put them into phony "leases" instead of hiring them (think the gig economy crap but worse) with impossible numbers. There's interviews with guys that have .06 cent checks after the fees.

        But if you can team drive you can still make upwards to $100k/yr. Mind you, a lot of that money gets spent on the road (living on the road ain't cheap) but you're
    • and easier jobs pay less. Also, Uber & co are hard at work automating that job too, so this rings doubly hollow.

      The way you can tell automation is going to screw the working class is easy, look at how whenever the ruling class brings it up they put so much effort into reassuring us.
    • You have made a lot of assumptions there. First, you failed to realize that the jobs will change. The nature of the entire business will shift and it is quite possible that the delivery driver job could change and become a better job, particularly if we insist on regulating it, the way we regulate long haul driver jobs.

      Second, we are not 'denying it is crashing' in any way shape or form. Lots of people are talking about it.

      Third, we are not holding onto the myth of the markets, instead we are holding on

    • High wage and unions. Two reasons for ubers to get rid of you ASAP, right there.

  • "Autonomous Auto-Docking" has already been developed for ICE based trucks: http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/Our... [eaton.com]

    Hell, I bet the Tesla trucks will come with this feature (easier to implement with an electric motor) and the next iteration won't need a driver.

  • Why will AI never be able to handle Urban driving? And if AI will never be able to handle complex and difficult driving conditions, what legislator will ever allow them to drive on highways?

    • Highways (and, perhaps surprisingly, race tracks) looik to be a much simpler problem for autonomous driving than urban or suburban driving. Basically the rules are:

      1. Don't run into anything.

      2. Don't take actions that might cause someone/something to run into you..

      3. Stay under the speed limit.

      4. Don't follow more closely than a safe stopping distance.

      5 Signal when changing lanes

      6. If you run into a situation you can't handle, pull over as far as you can from the traffic lanes, turn on flashers, and

      • They are much simpler until something unexpected happens. How do you completely prevent anything unexpected happening on these highways?

      • 1. Don't run into anything.
        2. Don't take actions that might cause someone/something to run into you..
        3. Stay under the speed limit.

        Sounds a lot like Robocop's prime directives:
        "Serve the public trust"
        "Protect the innocent"
        "Uphold the law"

  • by ThaumaTechnician ( 2701261 ) on Saturday February 03, 2018 @09:51AM (#56061565)
    This and an earlier story confirm Slashdot eschews editors.
    • by twdorris ( 29395 )

      Where are my mod points when I need them?

    • I'll just note here that the Slashdot editor rewrote the headline and both paragraphs, mostly to insert a lot more quotes from The Atlantic. One sentence of the original submission was kept by BeauHD. So in terms of how the sausage is made, it's not for lack of editorial involvement with the story.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      This and an earlier story confirm Slashdot eschews editors.

      They could be referring to their mass.

      Most truck drivers I've seen could stand to lose a few pounds.

  • ... to take up the last mile, we are asked to seriously believe removing jobs from the system will magically create more?
    • Uber may be trying to game the conversation for numerous reasons... including trying to head off sabotage.

      I remember the last US-wide truckers' strike. Trucks were vandalized; trucks were hijacked; scab drivers were injured and (IIRC) at least a couple were killed. Once some large company buys into the long-haul driverless truck concept, the drivers will almost certainly mobilize - and they're not the sort who will limit themselves to protesting peacefully.

      I suppose one good thing is it'll finally bring the

  • Trains (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Saturday February 03, 2018 @11:04AM (#56061749)

    So automated trucks traveling between hubs, and trucks delivering from there. Sounds like we have trains already. Why not expand those to avoid putting traffic on the freeway?

  • Your going to need last mile drivers, smart trucks are a great way to move freight 24x7 between terminals but terminal to destination in heavy traffic and every changing delivery locations really needs a human.
    • I can't wait for a general purpose android with weak AI. With a true general purpose humanoid robot I'm sure we will hear the same argument that surely there should be at least one human on the assembly floor, or in the kitchens. But eventually the last mile problem in general will be solved. It may not be a good idea to put total control of the technology and infrastructure that took billions of humans to in the hands of a dozen or so people who couldn't possibly have earned or even understood what they
    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      between terminals but terminal to destination in heavy traffic and every changing delivery locations really needs a human

      Why - local autonomous systems should be able to figure out local issues. Bridge over 28th street is down to two lanes for construction? Route around it. Driving down 19th street is fine for most of the day - except around 8am and 3:30pm when kids are being dropped off/picked up from the nearby elementary school. etc.

  • I'm pretty sure I also saw the Tobacco industry release a self-generated research study indicating that people would get less cancer by smoking, too.

    If the source is financially interested in the outcome... don't believe the hype.

  • As some might have suspected (duh!), this "study" is bullshit.
    No need for verification or whatnot - a study that contains predictions of the future that we have no means to know if it'll happen or not is not a study, it's just speculation.
    Uber might envision several ways the industry "could go", but they have no actual way to tell if things will really shift that way.
    They cannot stipulate with any degree of certainty how truckers, infrastructure, transportation industry and whatnot would react with an influ

  • If most long haul freight is moved by driverless trucks programmed not to kill people whose cars break down on the road in front of them, there's gonna be a big resurgence in highwayman type banditry. These driverless trucks are going to need guards to keep people from stopping them and helping themselves to what's inside.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Probably not going to work out that way. Autonomous trucks are going to be loaded with cameras low to the ground, which will see the face of any bandits, and the license plate of their getaway vehicle, and be able to send those and the GPS location to authorities/the trucking company. The standard lock on the trailer will be internal and electronic, remotely disengaged by the owner once it arrives at the destination and is ready to be unloaded; breaking through that would require a blowtorch and safe-cracki

  • "Long haul routes"? What about trains.

    The main issue with trains is the full train, with all its wagons, moves point-to-point. Unhitching specific wagons and sending them off in another direction with a different prime mover is hard. Why not have trains that can couple, decouple bogies automatically? Train propulsion is moving to electric these days. Perhaps, build smaller prime movers into bogies themselves. This could radically speed up rail travel, making it much more effective as well as safer (because

  • I don't care what kind of study they did and how they did it... the phrase "self driving trucks will result in more truck drivers" just sounds STUPID!!! They should just do what their set out to do: transportation and leave the self-driving vehicle business to the grown ups. They started out doing this by stealing ... their new CEO should put an end to a time/money wasting effort and concentrate on core business.

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