A More Realistic Article On Automated Trucking In Bloomberg

Topic 20532 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
My CB Handle is Frank's Comment
member avatar

Just some interesting reading I thought I would pass along. This article seemed to be a little more realistic on automated trucking research and had some interesting stuff of the coders working alongside truck drivers.

I thought the idea of driving alongside a coder with an entirely different background would be pretty cool despite the article's portrayal of the "typical" truck driver (a mythical creature who seems to appear in a lot of these articles but who is seen about as of as Bigfoot or a unicorn). I was less interested when they got to the part about the sudden crosswind though. That driver was definitely more seasoned and calm about it than I probably would have been.

I also thought that "driving" a real truck in one of those remote control stations for 40 hours a week would require a lot more energy and concentration than driving a real truck 70 hours a week. I don't know if I could maintain the same level of focus and intensity looking at a screen as I do driving a real truck hands on. You wouldnt get to see the same sights or have the same stimulations either so 40 hours a week with frequent breaks would be plenty.

One more takeaway is that after reading this I thought people who are already in trucking would not lose jobs and could possibly benefit from automated trucking. However it would make it harder for new people to get into the industry with fewer opportunities for new "steering wheel holders".

This is all just interesting speculation. Hope some of you will enjoy the article as much as I did.

Bloomberg article on truckers working alongside coders

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

I don't think it's very realistic to think this will take over truck driving. I have more thoughts on this, but I don't have time right now to go into much depth--I'll comment more later. I think there's much more of a chance of trucks driving themselves down the highway and a human driver taking over in the city, at least for now until trucks have the ability to drive themselves in the city (if that ever happens). I just don't see it really being a good idea to drive a truck remotely as if it were a video game. It sounds totally nuts, and there's so little you can see and feel from a screen.

And the way they described truck drivers compared to coders? I don't know how much I learned from this article about the future of truck driving, but I certainly learned quite a bit about the huge cultural gap between truckers and coders. I mean, if I didn't know better, I'd almost think we were animals compared to the super humans in Silicon Valley.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

If you walk into McDonalds you'll find people taking orders and working the registers. If they haven't even automated that process yet reliably, how long do you think it's going to be before computers can drive a 70 foot rig on a 3 stop mission in Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn?

Be serious.

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I finally just read this article. I'm still completely unimpressed. This company is attempting to set up a system where the trucks are driven remotely instead of having a driver behind the wheel. But as I've mentioned before, these algorithms are way, way less capable than the software industry would want any of us to believe, because they're trying to raise huge funds, develop some software that seems reasonably promising, and then sell the company for incredible amounts of money to one of the bigger players in the game. The company in this article is named "Starsky":

Of course, Starsky is a for-profit business, not a truth and reconciliation commission. It’s one of a handful of companies trying to seize a piece of the trucking industry’s $700 billion in annual revenue. Starsky has raised $5 million in seed capital from, among others, Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley venture fund and incubator. Its competitors include Embark, which is also backed by Y Combinator, and Otto, a startup that raised no outside capital and had fewer than 100 employees when Uber Technologies Inc. acquired it for $700 million. (Otto is the subject of a lawsuit that claims its co-founder stole technology from Alphabet, Google’s parent.) A fourth company, Peloton Technology, has raised $78 million to pursue adding some autonomous capabilities to conventional trucks.

So no one is accomplishing anything at this point other than to write some software, get some patents on it, and then sell it for massive amounts of money to Google or Uber or GM or one of the other bigger players. So their entire existence is based on hope, and so is their economic future.

As I've pointed out in previous articles, the software is really primitive. Read this and tell me you're impressed:

In the meantime, there are still lots of problems to solve—like wind. Not long into our drive, a gust hits our left side, and the truck lurches toward the shoulder; the wheel turns left, over-correcting and sending us drifting into the next lane. The experience is terrifying, although Runions and Keogh seem unfazed.

“It’s got to adjust, that’s all,” Runions says, explaining that the combination of wind and weight—today’s load is 20 tons, more than in other tests—represents a novel challenge. He keeps his hand on the blue switch and his eyes on his side mirror to make sure we don’t cut off anyone. He looks tense, but the truck finds the right lane after a few seconds.

Keogh says everything is normal. Starsky’s software is written to determine how hard the wind is blowing, he says, and then to steer against the wind and stay in the lane. But early on in a session, the computer isn’t fully calibrated yet. Runions offers a comparison: “You know how you are in the morning before you have your coffee?”

So a simple gust of wind on a flat, dry stretch of highway sent the truck off onto the shoulder and then careening into the hammer lane.

Are you serious?

And then the part about, "You know how you are in the morning before you have your coffee?"

Man, what a fresh, steaming pile of BS. That useless algorithm could have just caused a huge wreck and killed people over a simple gust of wind. One of Tesla's cars that has features that are supposed to detect problems on the highway failed to detect a tractor trailer that was completely across the road and did indeed drive the vehicle straight into the truck, killing the driver of the car.

Your algorithms are sent careening all over the highway by a simple gust of wind and you expect me to believe you have anything worthwhile at this point?

Be serious.

These gigantic corporations have spent billions of dollars over more than a decade developing this software and it still can't reliably detect a tractor trailer sitting sideways in front of the vehicle or maintain its lane when hit with a simple wind gust.

At this point this is nothing but marketing hype. Everyone is trying to convince investors to keep pouring funds into these companies to fund their research and then hopefully pay hundreds of millions buying the company outright one day.

Can't compensate for a simple wind gust. Good grief.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

You're spot on Brett. All this company is trying to do is get proof of concept and then cash in.

The article reads like a sales pitch that basically says "Truckers are lower class dumb hicks that need us and our much smarter technology experts to save their piddly little industry".

I'm not impressed at all

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brett wrote:

At this point this is nothing but marketing hype. Everyone is trying to convince investors to keep pouring funds into these companies to fund their research and then hopefully pay hundreds of millions buying the company outright one day.

Considering the source of the article, "Bloomberg", I totally agree with the above statement. Not a shadow of doubt, they are posturing, fishing for VC and private equity funding. "They" are only on step 1 of about 9 additional steps. None of these smaller think-tank start ups have the capital or resources required to actually get this product safely to market...they are still in the very basic phases of development and "break-fix" testing.

I maintain,...when the day comes that autonomous trucks are a reality, it will be in controlled, regulated corridors where it is far less complex to handle all of the possible (infinite?) variables we face during the average day. The fewer variables, the less to test, and the less risk of failure once in production. It's basic software engineering 101. You cannot test what you do not know about or simulate. None of the articles cover this obvious fact and are focused entirely on the "sizzle factor" and the "business-drivers" behind this push. Furthermore, anyone (like me) who has spent time in any computer technology field understands there is always the need for at least one redundant recovery/failover mechanism when hardware and/or software fails. A failure can be as simple as dropping a satellite feed for 1 minute or a power supply failure. Like paying taxes and dying, a system failure at some point is inevitable no matter how great their algorithms are. The ultimate failover is us, the low-life (as described in the article) truck driver (now a paid truck-sitter) required to take over with very little notice as a system fails. And where will the liability fall? That question has yet to be answered and is perhaps more precarious than actually building the software.

NO thanks...for me when this happens, retirement is swift (no pun intended) and immediate.

My CB Handle is Frank's Comment
member avatar

Yeah I thought it sounded like it might be an interesting project to help out with until I got to the part about the wind gust.

The "cup of coffee" comment should have set off some BS detectors as well. I don't think you need to be a coder to know that's not how computers work.

I finally just read this article. I'm still completely unimpressed. This company is attempting to set up a system where the trucks are driven remotely instead of having a driver behind the wheel. But as I've mentioned before, these algorithms are way, way less capable than the software industry would want any of us to believe, because they're trying to raise huge funds, develop some software that seems reasonably promising, and then sell the company for incredible amounts of money to one of the bigger players in the game. The company in this article is named "Starsky":

double-quotes-start.png

Of course, Starsky is a for-profit business, not a truth and reconciliation commission. It’s one of a handful of companies trying to seize a piece of the trucking industry’s $700 billion in annual revenue. Starsky has raised $5 million in seed capital from, among others, Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley venture fund and incubator. Its competitors include Embark, which is also backed by Y Combinator, and Otto, a startup that raised no outside capital and had fewer than 100 employees when Uber Technologies Inc. acquired it for $700 million. (Otto is the subject of a lawsuit that claims its co-founder stole technology from Alphabet, Google’s parent.) A fourth company, Peloton Technology, has raised $78 million to pursue adding some autonomous capabilities to conventional trucks.

double-quotes-end.png

So no one is accomplishing anything at this point other than to write some software, get some patents on it, and then sell it for massive amounts of money to Google or Uber or GM or one of the other bigger players. So their entire existence is based on hope, and so is their economic future.

As I've pointed out in previous articles, the software is really primitive. Read this and tell me you're impressed:

double-quotes-start.png

In the meantime, there are still lots of problems to solve—like wind. Not long into our drive, a gust hits our left side, and the truck lurches toward the shoulder; the wheel turns left, over-correcting and sending us drifting into the next lane. The experience is terrifying, although Runions and Keogh seem unfazed.

“It’s got to adjust, that’s all,” Runions says, explaining that the combination of wind and weight—today’s load is 20 tons, more than in other tests—represents a novel challenge. He keeps his hand on the blue switch and his eyes on his side mirror to make sure we don’t cut off anyone. He looks tense, but the truck finds the right lane after a few seconds.

Keogh says everything is normal. Starsky’s software is written to determine how hard the wind is blowing, he says, and then to steer against the wind and stay in the lane. But early on in a session, the computer isn’t fully calibrated yet. Runions offers a comparison: “You know how you are in the morning before you have your coffee?”

double-quotes-end.png

So a simple gust of wind on a flat, dry stretch of highway sent the truck off onto the shoulder and then careening into the hammer lane.

Are you serious?

And then the part about, "You know how you are in the morning before you have your coffee?"

Man, what a fresh, steaming pile of BS. That useless algorithm could have just caused a huge wreck and killed people over a simple gust of wind. One of Tesla's cars that has features that are supposed to detect problems on the highway failed to detect a tractor trailer that was completely across the road and did indeed drive the vehicle straight into the truck, killing the driver of the car.

Your algorithms are sent careening all over the highway by a simple gust of wind and you expect me to believe you have anything worthwhile at this point?

Be serious.

These gigantic corporations have spent billions of dollars over more than a decade developing this software and it still can't reliably detect a tractor trailer sitting sideways in front of the vehicle or maintain its lane when hit with a simple wind gust.

At this point this is nothing but marketing hype. Everyone is trying to convince investors to keep pouring funds into these companies to fund their research and then hopefully pay hundreds of millions buying the company outright one day.

Can't compensate for a simple wind gust. Good grief.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More