TruckingTruth Article: Self Driving Vehicles Are Coming Soon You Say? I Say Please Stop Clowning Us

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Drones could deliver the mail/online order to you in your truck, rv, etc. while in transit right to your window.

Oh, drones can do soooo much. So much. There is hardly a lifestyle or an occupation or a hobby that couldn't use a drone in some way. Everyone from teachers to farmers, engineers, athletes, photographers, police and military, mountain climbers, package delivery.........seriously, it makes a lot more sense to try to find someone who couldn't benefit in some way from a drone.

The battleground that will determine the future of our economy, including our modes of transportation and the transport of goods, will take place in courtrooms and in Congress over drone usage. If they open it up we'll be flying around in drones for transportation and we'll be using them for almost every imaginable activity in our lives. If not, we'll still be driving gas burning V8's and sitting in traffic on clogged up highways full of diesel burning big rigs 50 years from now.

That's my take on drones.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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One thing I've noticed that nobody brings up is the fact that as long as there's a driver who has to be there to monitor the system and take over when the system fails (it will by the way), that driver is still bound by hours of service. So you still have a truck that can only make x amount of miles per day, profit margins which are extremely tight to begin with and now someone wants to add a system that will be expensive to say the least. The Bendix system is already being used on many trucks and you constantly hear about the issues involved with it and failures of the equipment.

Here's a thought. TRAIN PEOPLE HOW TO DRIVE!!!!! Not just professional drivers but people who drive 4 wheelers as well.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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One thing I've noticed that nobody brings up is the fact that as long as there's a driver who has to be there to monitor the system and take over when the system fails (it will by the way), that driver is still bound by hours of service. So you still have a truck that can only make x amount of miles per day, profit margins which are extremely tight to begin with and now someone wants to add a system that will be expensive to say the least. The Bendix system is already being used on many trucks and you constantly hear about the issues involved with it and failures of the equipment.

Here's a thought. TRAIN PEOPLE HOW TO DRIVE!!!!! Not just professional drivers but people who drive 4 wheelers as well.

That's an excellent point. You're still going to pay the driver a significant amount of money, on top of the money you'll spend on buying and installing the equipment, on top of the money you'll spend hiring and training advanced systems engineers to program and troubleshoot and repair these systems. And we know how wonderfully reliable electronics are in vehicles when they're being exposed to the vibrations and temperature fluctuations they're exposed to.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

One thing I've noticed that nobody brings up is the fact that as long as there's a driver who has to be there to monitor the system and take over when the system fails (it will by the way), that driver is still bound by hours of service. So you still have a truck that can only make x amount of miles per day, profit margins which are extremely tight to begin with and now someone wants to add a system that will be expensive to say the least. The Bendix system is already being used on many trucks and you constantly hear about the issues involved with it and failures of the equipment.

Here's a thought. TRAIN PEOPLE HOW TO DRIVE!!!!! Not just professional drivers but people who drive 4 wheelers as well.

double-quotes-end.png

That's an excellent point. You're still going to pay the driver a significant amount of money, on top of the money you'll spend on buying and installing the equipment, on top of the money you'll spend hiring and training advanced systems engineers to program and troubleshoot and repair these systems. And we know how wonderfully reliable electronics are in vehicles when they're being exposed to the vibrations and temperature fluctuations they're exposed to.

Exactly. Then companies will have to drive up rates to cover the cost of the new system, as well as maintain it, and the market simply isn't going to allow that. Heck, if rates went up, I think most drivers would be happy to see a little more money lol.

Something else that just came to mind with a few threads dealing with health and such. Now you have a driver sitting there doing absolutely nothing for how many hours a day. How healthy can that be?

Brett Aquila's Comment
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The decisions that would have to be made when taking everything into account is untenable also.

For instance, you're driving down the Interstate and a deer runs out and stops in front of the truck. When evaluating this scenario our default option, sadly but necessarily, is to run over it. However, you might not have to.

How far is the deer out in front of you? Do you have time to slow down and hit the horn or turn off the headlights for a moment hoping he'll jump out of the way?

How close is someone behind you? Are they going to plow into you if you do try to get on the brakes a little bit?

What are the road conditions like? Is it too slick to be attempting any sort of medium-to-hard braking or steering?

Maybe he's not centered in your lane. Do you have room to gently move a few feet to the right onto the shoulder and go around him?

Are you loaded heavy?

Are you on an incline or decline?

How likely is it that medium-to-hard braking will shift the cargo you're currently carrying? Is it a liquid tanker without baffles? Is it a dry van packed with ping pong balls?

And of course what if that deer isn't a deer, but Heaven forbid a person? Then what precautions might you take? How might you handle it differently?

Now who is going to be the software developer that programs the system to detect what exactly that is in the road and decide whether or not they should just blatantly run over that deer, versus do something drastic to avoid that child?

Yeah, have fun with that scenario. And make sure you consult the insurance companies and the lawyers before you program the options for that truck to either run something over or drive itself off a cliff. Fun Fun Fun.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
G-Town's Comment
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Dragon wrote:

Here's a thought. TRAIN PEOPLE HOW TO DRIVE!!!!! Not just professional drivers but people who drive 4 wheelers as well.

Amen to the enth degree! Why does this, something so obvious escape any serious consideration?

Driving has become a secondary activity that get's in the way of texting, tweeting, insta-gratification, and what ever else entertains. Madness.

Tim H.'s Comment
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Teleportation development sounds more feasible. Then you'd have hacking concerns. Highjacking and kidnapping via hacked teleportation devices. Good idea for a movie.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Dragon wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

Here's a thought. TRAIN PEOPLE HOW TO DRIVE!!!!! Not just professional drivers but people who drive 4 wheelers as well.

double-quotes-end.png

Amen to the enth degree! Why does this, something so obvious escape any serious consideration?

Driving has become a secondary activity that get's in the way of texting, tweeting, insta-gratification, and what ever else entertains. Madness.

And the fact that tens of millions of cars emit more pollution (both when they're driven but also in the process of being manufactured) than all of the heavy trucks combined, means most of the mental energy being expended on self-driving trucks would be better spent on figuring out how to get people to and from work, school, shopping, etc.

Cars are far less fuel-efficient than trucks, they create a dangerous environment for professional drivers, they kill a lot more people in accidents than trucks, and they're expensive. Trucks are already pretty efficient at what they do: moving freight from point A to point B, and they're becoming more efficient all the time.

Cars are horribly inefficient at moving people around, and they are vastly underutilized compared to trucks. Can you imagine anyone proposing "truckpooling" instead of "carpooling?" Oh wait, they have: it's called "LTL."

Why not spend the energy and time and effort figuring out how to get people where they want to go when they want to go there more efficiently? Every time I read comments on techie websites about self-driving trucks, you can almost see the people there salivating over the idea of never seeing a big, smelly, dirty truck again as they're driving their Prius to their jobs building crappy websites.

Oh sure, some of them take the BART, but I've noticed that many of those who advocate for more public transit never use it themselves. That would involve mingling with people they would prefer to feel sorry for from a distance.

And public transit doesn't really work in smaller cities and towns. It's hard to consolidate enough trips to make it worthwhile without a lot of volume.

My take is that it's a lot easier to just make trucks autonomous than it has been to solve the mass transit problem that people have been working on for the last hundred years with minimal success. But the problem of moving people instead of freight is a lot tougher to solve in reality, or so it seems to those who want to push self-driving trucks.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Chad's Comment
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I feel the same, but I could never articulate this as well as Brett! Great article! Gonna share this on some FB groups I belong to.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I feel the same, but I could never articulate this as well as Brett! Great article! Gonna share this on some FB groups I belong to.

Hey thanks, and thanks again!

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