News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
Friday Short Haul - Protests, dark days ahead, TuSimple
Proposal to hit up SoCal warehouses for truck emissions at their facilities
Court says interstate drivers are not held to California's meal and rest break rules
Friday Short Haul - ND's 80mph speed limit, FMCSA advisory committees, precedent-setting lawsuit
Most states fail to measure up to safety advocate's recommendations
Road train pilot program approved by North Dakota lawmakers
Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to driver for in 2021, Feds' final worker status rule, yard jockeys need better training
TruckPark and FuelMe partnership takes the worry out of parking and fueling
Clearinghouse deadline, and new FMCSA guidance about yard moves
2020 closes with probably one of the most bizarre truck crash lawsuits ever
FMCSA adds underride guards to list of inspection items
Ex-football player helping truckers get into shape
Friday Short Haul - OOIDA's letter to Congress, J.B. Hunt's diversity project, major winter storm
France imposes lockdown on truckers from Britain attempting to cross the channel
DOT told to assess skills of employees able to meet automation challenge
Friday Short Haul - New FMCSA final rule, U.S. Xpress MIT study, Triton-EV semi
COVID blamed for backlog in holiday deliveries
Rule requiring driver notification of traffic violations is on FMCSA chopping block
Friday Short Haul - WIT Female Driver nominations, FMCSA HOS Q&A webinar, truckers handle
House passes federal marijuana bill; won't affect truckers
Predictive hiring assessments becoming popular recruiting tool. But will it cure turnover?
Friday Short Haul -- ATA letters about vaccine, FMCSA emergency declaration, UPS steps up dry ice production
WIT seeks to survey women about driving while pregnant
Four more drivers join ranks of TCA's Highway Angels
Friday Short Haul -- TCA's Fleet Safety awards, truck drivers' vaccine, Volvo electric semis
AI technology is now playing a bigger role in driver-facing camera surveillance
CDC releases lates COVID-19 guidelines for truckers
Friday Short Haul - Daimler self-driving Freightliner, driver's ed students, StopTheTires cancelled
FMCSA shoots down Washington State's more-stringent break rules for truckers
Two awardees announced for WIT's 2020 Woman of Influence
Friday Short Haul -- Trucking quilter, Tri-State bets $5,000, and CRST conquers dwell time
Veterans Day StopTheTires2020 shutdown protest planned
California voters approve Prop 22 to gain exemptions to AB-5
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA Pocket Guide, Heartland pay raise, teen trucker comments
U.S. Senator blasts FMCSA for lack of accountability and increased crashes
Four-state coalition forms to alleviate I-10 corridor truck parking problem
Friday Short Haul - Tyson's mirrorless trucks, Brake Safety Week results, 14-hour pilot program comments
Driver shortage ranks highest in ATRI's latest truck industry survey
FMCSA criticized for high number of CDL fraud incidences
Friday Short Haul - Volvo electrics, EPA emission penalties, PA move over law
Nuclear verdicts get carriers rethinking safety training programs
SBTC denied request for HOS and ELD exemptions when pets are on board
Friday Short Haul - Smuggled migrants, Prime settlement, USF Holland lawsuit, truck road damage
Tank trailers get approved for an additional pulsating brake light
TuSimple and Waymo go head to head on issues of AV trucking
Friday Short Haul - Drivers can self-dispatch, driver pay on the increase, Hurrican Delta emergency
Women in Trucking names Influential Women and top companies for women to work for
When a social media presence could hurt a driver or carrier
Friday Short Haul - Walmart buys Tesla semis, FMCSA drivers panel, Pronto.ai is denied request, and Jim Mullen moves to TuSimple
Machine learning shared truck loads add efficient component to LTL shipping
New HOS rules in effect Sept. 29; clearing confusion about the new rule changes
Friday Short Haul -- Schneider's remote orientation, 14-hour rule change comments, license renawal extension, ATA's DOL response
Feds come out with their own definition of independent contractor status
Amazon casts around for freight haulers; FMCSA news for drivers
Friday Short Haul - WIT photo contest, Teamsters challenge HOS, $1 billion for infrastructure
Speeding was most-cited violation during Safe Driver Week
Carriers, others, honor drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA wildfire declaration, hair drug testing, shift plus load pay
FMCSA looking to put under-21 drivers on interstate hauls
New AB 5 bill specifically targets truckers for enforcement
Friday Short Haul - AV test tracking tool, split-duty proposal comments, and mandatory hair testing
FMCSA helps bankroll Trucking Fatigue Meter to fight driver drowsiness
FMCSA looking at split-duty rule change; extending 14-hour day
Friday Short Haul - Travel centers announce special offers for drivers in September
Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3
More indictments in New Orleans area accident insurance scams
Friday Short Haul - North Dakota road trains, Brake Safety Week, drivers not returning to duty, opposition to Mexican truckers
Platooning passes real-world tests; new company emerges as leader
Helping victims of crashes earn drivers Highway Angel awards
Friday Short Haul - Trucker's last ride, FMCSA extension, autonomous trucks
Test vehicles did not fare well during AAA's driving assistance evaluations
Spotted lanternfly sightings on the increase
Friday Short Haul - JKC Trucking announcement, truck stop break-in, WIT top women businesses
FMCSA reminds drivers of 'adverse conditions' exemptions to HOS rules
SmartSense mitigates collision and 'sitting duck' situations
Friday Short Haul - FBI ELD hacks warning, students hack trucks, OOIDA asks for HVUT suspension
Women In Trucking announces 2020 photo contest
California publishes major new freight plan
Friday Short Haul - Love's requires masks, 10-million-mile driver, brake check blitz, and TuSimple truck incident
COVID-19 gives the average trucker a chance to attend FMCSA safety summit
Overdrive honors Small Fleet Champs
Friday Short Haul - States push for electric semis, fewer student new-hires, troopers in a truck
Nearly 300,000 drivers would lose jobs if hair testing was mandated
Trucking Truth owner/founder gets 3-hour spot at Road Dog Trucking Radio
Friday Short Haul - Operation Safe Driver Week, Canadian border, fuel cell semis hit the road
Werner, DOE earn FMCSA ELD and HOS exemptions
TuSimple announces its Autonomous Freight Network to expand driverless freight hauling throughout the nation
Friday Short Haul - House passes Moving Forward Act, YRC gets a bailout, and trucking jobs on the increase
Group pens letter objecting to proposed EV charging stations at highway rest areas
Carriers' virus response gets kudos at TCA virtual meeting
Friday Short Haul - Convoy brokerage, CLP waiver extended, $2 million amendment passed, two sentenced for CDL fraud
Nuclear verdicts strangling trucking companies; not so, say lawsuit attorneys
Eight carriers in lawsuit for not poaching other companies' drivers
Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman
FMCSA extends 3 COVID-related waiver declarations
Truckers say they will refuse to enter cop-defunded cities
Friday Short Haul - Truckers love guns, freight broker leader resigns, avoiding riots
Cargo theft on the uptick during COVID-19 era
California voters will get a chance to scrap AB 5
Friday Short Haul - Prime crash verdict, Teamsters applaud INVEST Act, OOIDA opposes broker bond changes
Dwell and detention times begin to decrease post-virus
CRST fighting another battle over driver poaching
Friday Short Haul - Driver shortage is over, Amazon's brokerage goes national, and lawyers are after carriers for nuclear verdicts
Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies
FMCSA to consider increasing HOS for autonomous drivers
Friday Short Haul - Trimble MAPS, rate of fatalities increase, Comcar bankruptcy, driver pay on the rise
FMCSA: Long-awaited final HOS revisions announced
2016 trucking documentary released to YouTube for public viewing
Friday Short Haul - Reusing morgue reefers, ATRI research priorities, FMCSA HOS declaration
WIT honors two women in the trucking industry
Freight brokers push back against "price gouging" accusation
Friday Short Haul - Tank truck revenues decline, former Arrow CEO gets early prison release, not-preventable crashes
ATRI and OOIDF team up for comprehensive COVID-19/trucking survey
U.S. military has unique needs for truck platooning
Friday Short Haul - Truckers protest low rates, 1 million masks given to drivers, SecurSpace app finds parking
WorkHound analyses what drivers think about the COVID-19 crisis
Group pushes back on temporary increased weight limits
Friday Short Haul - 'Thank God for truckers!' CA state senator proposes bill to suspend AB5, TA furloughs 3,000 workers
Truckers say distracted driving is on the rise
Trucking leaders think some recent changes might become permanent in the industry
Friday Short Haul - "Your papers please," skills testing waiver, masks required in Canada
Truckers report in on their treatment during these COVID-19 times
FMCSA acts quickly to keep the new-driver pipeline flowing
Friday Short Haul - Weight limits increase, food trucks not wanted in rest areas, FMCSA extends HOS exemptions
Trucking industry concerned about state licensing agency closings
California AB-5 advocates react to carriers' COVID-19 good deeds
Friday Short Haul - Schneider's error, Change.org petition, Teamsters Canada demands
Authors: 'Legacy' carriers ignore autonomous technology at their peril
COVID-19 scare: State gun laws come under scrutiny
Friday Short Haul - Inspection blitz postponed, COVID-19 webinar, FHA urges states to keep rest areas open, fewer cars means faster truck deliveries
DOT and FMCSA issue COVID-19 responses
Starsky Robotics calls it quits
Friday Short Haul - Weigh station parking, rest areas reopen, HOS waiver expanded, freight prices increase
Truck drivers mostly exempt from coronavirus lock downs
HOS rules relaxed for COVID-19 relief effort
Friday Short Haul - Western Express recovers from Tennessee tornado, driver involved in two accidents six minutes apart, another carrier quits
Daimler's electric vehicles and autonomous trucks continue real-world testing
Predictive technology increases driver safety, benefits carriers
Friday Short Haul -- Coffee drinking drivers, Amazon coronavirus email, FMCSA safety summit
AIRman introduces no-crank technology to landing gears
Roadmaster shows how to reduce driver turnover
Friday Short Haul - CBD users beware, 8,000 violations revealed in Clearinghouse, laptop theft lands Alabama trucker in prison
Canada company offers easy access to spare trailers
Roadcheck could result in temporarily higher freight rates
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving yard trucks, Knight-Swift partners with Truckstop.com, Security guard shoots driver
Training providers offer a diversity of options
Idaho eases hemp transport prohibition; too late to help arrested drivers
Friday Short Haul - Tennessee carrier quits, signs a carrier is going down, retaining drivers
New phone app hopes to alleviate shipper waits
Senate Transportation Committee gets an earful from trucking execs
Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to drive for, FMCSA delays ELDT rule, Cold Carriers closes doors
Baylor Trucking deals with consequences of ELD outage
WIT announces first-ever Driver Ambassador, names February Member of the Month
Friday Short Haul - ATA at White House USMCA signing, AB-5 fight continues, toughest jobs
May dates announced for this year's roadside inspection blitz
States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws
Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator
Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels
Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm
Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey
Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy
A glimpse into driving long-haul in China
Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge
Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers
WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year
Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors
Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019
Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020
Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car
Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving
Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit
Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities
Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect
State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline
Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions
Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees
Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?
Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath'
Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack
Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper
Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill
Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash
Tesla announces new electric Semi model
Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay
Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working
Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits
So you want to start your own trucking company?
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges
Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase
Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5
Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement
Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over"
Are trucker strikes a thing of the past?
Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers
OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules
Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase
Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition
ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers
Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend
Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse
UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program
Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies
Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics
Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California
Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers
Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation
Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets
54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology
Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea
TCA honors three Highway Angels
Now they're talking about "smart" trailers
Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage
Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change
Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse
Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign
Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality
Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks
Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire
UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment
FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes
Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions
CVSA asks for new truck crash study
Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination
Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race
New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes
Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav
Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity
DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure
Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs
FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers
It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle.
Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans
Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire
Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills
Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status
ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant
New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters
Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week
Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July
Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?
Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks
Experts warn of active wildland fire season
More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking
Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award
Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs
Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo
HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers
FMCSA takes a further look at detention time
Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest
Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week
Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo
Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments
Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration
Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts
Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous trucks on USPS test run
Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins
Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole
Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South
Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets
Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers
'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states
Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers
Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business
ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for
Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks
Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings
Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels
Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business
Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise
Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need
Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border
Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules
Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates
Don't get scammed by skimmers
Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking
Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap
Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising
FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website
Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award
The hidden danger of looking but not seeing
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire
Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases
Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness
Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports
New tax changes hit drivers hard
FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military
Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use
Congress committee looks at state of America's highways
Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same
Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks
Detention - A problem still in search of a solution
February Highway Angels honorees named
Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets
Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?
Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage
Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team
Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards
Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers
LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30
2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry
Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018
TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award
TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year
Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers
New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018
Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup
Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks
Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017
Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way
Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal
Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice
The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers
The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017
We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
It's common for anyone considering a career in trucking to wonder about the impending takeover of self-driving vehicles. When is this going to happen? Am I going to have a job in a few years? Will they still need drivers for anything at all, or are we all on the way out?
Pleeeeeease! Get serious.
As a software developer myself I'm acutely aware of the difficulty of getting software to do even the most basic tasks reliably, let alone incredibly complex tasks like:
- Navigating busy city streets
- Swerving through twisty construction zones
- Wiggling around in tight parking lots full of busy people
- Detecting and adjusting to icy roads
....and 10 million other things humans have to figure out each day, on the fly, without warning.
The human mind is vastly more powerful and complex than most people would realize. It's not until you try to mimic what the mind can do that you realize how astounding this challenge will be. We can interpret things going on around us with incredible speed and accuracy. We adjust to the unknown, the unpredictable, and the outright bizarre without much difficulty at all.
And yet if you read the headlines it would seem science has all but written off humans as being useful anymore. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles are taking over, or about to, if you believe these clowns.
Yes, clowns. They're clowning us.
Well there's quite a few of them in fact. There's no shortage of people who are looking to drum up attention for the impending robot revolution. In fact, why don't we have our own clown parade?
Researchers At Universities
University research requires large amounts of money in the form of grants in order to fund ongoing research. Well say you're a wealthy graduate of University X looking to get some notoriety, and Mr Researcher at University X comes to you and says, "Listen, University X is leading the way in self-driving vehicles. With just a small donation from you, maybe in the six figure range, max, you'll be able to say you were a part of the revolution that University X created!" You might just cut a check for those Benjamins and wait for the bragging rights to come your way. Heck, you probably won't even wait for it to happen before you tell your friends about it. It's a gimme! A professor told you so.
But if they can't get the word out to you, how would you know? So they have to drum up the excitement publicly. Well that's awesome news for:
Publishers Looking For Link Bait Titles
Oh heck yeah, that's me too! But I'm on the other side of the coin. I don't believe any of this is about to happen, so my 'clicky titles' aren't nearly as clicky as the ones proclaiming:
Man, those headlines are rich with sweet, buttery goodness, aren't they? Seriously, I already know you're gonna read em so go ahead. I won't be mad. Sometimes I can't resist either. They really do sound interesting, and they make it seem so realistic, too, like it's actually about to happen!
Corporations Looking For Funding
And naturally we would be remiss if we didn't mention the corporations and their incessant quest for the almighty dollar. The amount of money you can bring in by getting a tech startup funded, or bringing in a new round of public funding for a large corporation, is staggering. It's in the millions for startups, and billions for larger corporations.
Promising your investors huge payoffs if (or when?) your company produces valuable technology is what drives much of the tech world forward. Right now, many thousands of software engineers are getting wealthy while plugging away at the next phase of our technological advancement. Will any of it ever come to fruition? Some. But mostly in the form of selling your "promising startup" to the next larger corporation looking to buy more promising startups.
But you see, there's something you have to understand about technology. You don't assess the current state of technology by its successes. You measure it by its failures. It's not about what we can accomplish when things go perfectly, it's about what we can do safely and consistently, even when everything goes exactly the opposite of what we had anticipated.
Measuring The Current State of Technology By Its Failures
Getting a vehicle to navigate today's overcrowded city streets and Interstates is a monumental task. It's staggering the amount of information that would have to be processed continuously, and accurately, in real time. You would have to combine GPS data with all sorts of other technologies in order to detect obstacles in your path, street signs, highway markings, pedestrians and bicycles, weather, road conditions, other traffic on the highway, and a million other variables.
- What if you're on a highway in a storm and there's a live power line down across the road?
- What if you're in a construction zone and they didn't reline the highway to indicate the lane you should be in?
- What if the road only has one lane open and a flagman is signaling for you to do something?
- What if you're on the Interstate and a drunk driver is coming at you going the wrong way on the highway? (I've had this happen to me!)
I could go on all day. Are software engineers able to account for this? Pardon my language, but heck no! (I said that with vigor, mind you).
No, they will not be able to account for such things. How do I know?
Here's something I had happen to me yesterday.
An Incredible Siri Fail
So yesterday I'm driving down I-87, heading back to the campground I'm staying at for the season, Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY. Now I've used Siri on my iPhone to request navigation with Apple Maps back to this campground several times. At the time this happened I'm about 8 miles from the campground. Here's the conversation........
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground"
Siri: "I can't find Iroquois Campground"
Brett: "What the....???"
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground"
Siri: "I can't find Iroquois Campground"
Brett: "WTH??? (Pardon my abbreviated language, but I'm being real here)"
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY"
Siri: "Ok, navigating to Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY"
Then she was able to find the place and take me there.
I mean, you've gotta be kidding me???
Apple has $200 Billion in cash and well over 10,000 software engineers and they don't know to look for a place in the area that I've asked them to navigate me to?
I mean, I started with the word "Navigate" and I'm doing 65 mph down the Interstate so ya gotta figure I'm trying to go to a location, right? I'm either going to give you the name of the place, or an address. I obviously didn't give an address, and when she repeated it back she even spelled it properly........"I can't find Iroquois Campground"...............well where the hell were you looking?? Obviously not within an 8 mile range of here!
Duuuuuh........I guess she didn't think to look for a place in the area with that name. What a novel idea, huh? Duuuuuuh.
And this is just one tiny example of a software fail, but it's at the most basic level. What happens if we start counting on this technology on a large scale and we have a major failure?
So where are we when we assess our limitations and failures? Well Tesla had a recent failure with their "autopilot" system, (or auto-kill-you system), when a car smashed directly into the side of a tractor trailer, and the findings were startling:
Now get this from the article above:
"Tesla wrote in a blog post following the May accident that the Autopilot system did not notice "the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied."
The autopilot system didn't notice a tractor trailer?? "My God. But why??" you ask? Oh you'll love this. Because:
"Autopilot is not cross-traffic aware, meaning it should not be expected to recognize and react to vehicles crossing in front of a car", Thomas said.
Ok, I can't even think of a response to that without cussing. You're trying to tell me that you've been promising the world we're about to be taken over by self-driving vehicles but they can't even recognize a tractor trailer sitting completely perpendicular to my path?
When considering the use of technology on a large scale we must judge the technology based upon its limitations and failures, not upon its potential. It's as simple as that. And where do we stand right now with regard to self-driving technology?
We're Limited, And We're Failing.
So the next time you find yourself lying awake worrying about self-driving vehicles, just go back to sleep. We're not within a million miles of this happening yet. They're just clowning us.
Trucking Industry Concerns