Profile For Roy1024

Roy1024's Info

  • Location:
    West Lafayette, IN

  • Driving Status:
    Preparing For School

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  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 9 months ago

Roy1024's Bio

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Posted:  5 years, 7 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

Brett - if you have not done so, have a look at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_self-driving_cars - No, they are not ready for "prime time", but they are getting closer, and various car models can be purchased today that have various components integral to self-driving cars. The technology needed for reliable self driving cars has exactly zero to do with automatic transmission technology. Claiming that "We still haven't figured out human nutrition. You could put three apple pie recipes in front of Google and Google couldn't tell you which one would taste the best." are evidence of deficient software development is way wide of the mark. Human nutrition is largely unknown because of the complete impossibility of ever being able to perform controlled experiments on humans - and has nothing to do with computation. Taste is a question of neurology and biochemistry, not something that can be computed. While weather forecasts are perhaps not as locally precise as you might want, forecasts are much higher resolution in both time and position than they were even 10 years ago; today, the primary limiting factor to more precise weather forecasting is the lack of high spatial resolution of current conditions, rather than compute power as such. (Yes, I have some specific knowledge about weather forecasting, going back to when I worked on the hardware interface control software for the very first Doppler Weather Radar system ("Nexrad"), back in the 1980's). While I appreciate your concern about the vast array of scenarios that must be properly detected by autonomous vehicle control systems, and suitable responses created, the undeniable fact is that there are several prototype vehicles on the road today that perform quite well; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waymo . While the reliability of these prototypes is not 100%, the reliability of these systems is rapidly improving as more and more players enter the market, and set up large-scale tests in various locations. Since most of my career has focused on computer simulation, I find it particularly encouraging that (per the referenced essay) Waymo autonomous cars have logged some 5 billion miles in simulated driving. While I do not know the very specific details of this work, I know pretty much at a technical level exactly how such simulation is done, and the capabilities of such simulation to replicate, with many thousands of variations, the type of doomsday scenarios that you outlined. The ability to differentiate between a child on a bicycle, an inflatable likeness of a child, and a deer (say) can be, and no doubt has been, tested hundreds or thousands of times, just as aircraft simulators can provide a pilot with the opportunity to practice, over and over, scenarios that one hopes will never be encountered in actual flight. Interfacing the computer control system of an autonomous vehicle to a “real world” simulator is very mature technology that evolved with the development of computerized avionics in aircraft. On the Space Shuttle project 40 years ago we were able to simulate all of the electronic systems of the vehicle with sufficiently high fidelity that the on-board Flight Control Computers could not distinguish between simulated and actual flight environments; before the first Shuttle Mission those Flight Control Computers had “flown” thousands of missions. (I am eager to work with the truck simulators that I understand are a part of many driver training programs; it will be interesting to me to compare the fidelity of the truck simulators to commercial and military flight trainers.)

Posted:  5 years, 7 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

G-Town, I am quite aware of the bad behavior of 4-wheelers, as I have about 3000 hours driving a 26,000 GVWR Box truck, and another roughly 3000 hours pulling loaded goose-neck cattle trailers and flatbed trailers (10,000 to 15,000 lbs) behind woefully underpowered light trucks. No, not as big as what you drive, but slow enough to invoke the events you call bad behavior and I call driver error. But what do you propose to do, short term or long term, to reduce this frequency of collision-inducing behavior? I don't know about Jersey (other than driving on I-95), but around Dallas and Houston it is pretty much a lawless free-for-all, 24/7, and no amount of enforcement or new law seems to change anything. My own view is that the prototype driverless car projects will, over time, yield much technology that can be integrated into cars to prevent certain types of behavior - like running stop signs and red lights. Will the technology be "perfect"? Maybe, maybe not - but right now I'd bet that the technology will be way safer than the teenager playing with their cell phone or the average drunk driver. No, not this year, but the track record of the existing driverless car projects is very encouraging. Over the course of a few decades we have gone from a robot having limited ability to "walk" down an office hallway to cars that can successfully operate autonomously in typical suburban traffic. Now, in cattle country, we see quite a few roll-over accidents that involve big rigs hauling livestock; invariably, the truck going around a curve, and then laying over, without any other vehicles being involved. The other thing that seems to happen all too often are instances of truck going across the median (or off the other way) after blowing a steer tire - occasionally with bad outcomes. What do you propose to do to reduce the frequency of these events?

Posted:  5 years, 7 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

G-Town, "Don’t focus on the symptom, focus on the root problems. " O.K., the fatality rate is a "symptom". The weight of evidence says that the primary cause of the fatality rate is human error - in other words, the "root problem" is human error. Sometimes the truck driver, sometimes some other driver, maybe once in a blue moon someone else made an error that led to a fatality. Do you agree?

Posted:  5 years, 7 months ago

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40, single, already living out of my car (100% by choice)...and have been offered a buy-out to leave my company...oh, and no degree

You have to figure out your own situation. But do not fool yourself into thinking that not having a fixed place to call "home" will automatically work long-term. It does not take long for hotel bills to be more than rent on a small place in a less expensive part of the country. It might work for you, or it might not. The only other comment I can make is: ask yourself, are you running from something, or are you running toward something? You owe yourself honest answers, and act accordingly. There are many, many cautionary posts on this forum about the pitfalls that may catch you on the way to becoming a professional truck driver. Asking others to answer the tough questions you need to answer for yourself probably says you are not ready to make a decision.

Posted:  5 years, 7 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

According to FMCSA, fatalities in crashes involving large trucks has increased from 3,380 in 2009 to 4,317 in 2016. Clearly, the current efforts to improve truck safety are leading to an increasing number of fatalities every year. So if you reject technology as a means to improve safety, what do you think should be done to improve large truck safety?

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

Gentlemen, 1. I cited trains as evidence that autonomous operation, even in a one-dimensional space, is proving to be beyond the scope of current technology (except the familiar driverless intra-airport "people mover" systems). I did not cite trains as evidence that driverless road vehicles are currently feasible. 2. No current technology is feasible to implement what G-Town calls "point technology"; to date, driverless vehicle development has focused on autonomous vehicle operation, not on infrastructure dependent vehicle operation, out of recognition that with currently available technology infrastructure build-out to support infrastructure dependent vehicle operation is not a realistic alternative. The progress made over the last 5 - 10 years on the development of "driverless" cars should be sufficient to convince most any tech-savvy observer that autonomous vehicles will ultimately depend not on infrastructure, but on strictly autonomous decision making capability, just as cars today depend on autonomous decision making by the human driver. The positive train control project within the railroad industry has abundantly demonstrated the pitfalls of trying to base vehicle operation on an infrastructure-dependent model. 3. The people who are working to develop autonomous vehicles are acutely aware of the "infinite amount of variables" in autonomous vehicle operation; that is the technological challenge that attracts some of the most talented engineers and physicists to work on autonomous vehicle design. And yes, there are mathematically sound and rigorous methods of testing systems against those "infinite amount of variables". No, software testing is not perfect, but software can be made fail-safe, as evidenced by the millions of lines of code that execute flawlessly in millions of modern passenger cars and aircraft. 4. I did not and am not arguing that "driverless trucks" are going to be a reality at any time in the future. (But I am not going to be foolish and say "never"; I suspect that when my great great grandparents took six months to travel from Boston to what is now Oklahoma, in the 1840's, they would have said that "never" would anyone make that trip in four hours - which, of course, is now done many times a day.) My argument is that there are many technological assists that are currently feasible now, and we need to take action to encourage development and implementation of those technologies. 5. With all due respects, may I point out that if everyone takes the position of "prove it is totally safe and reliable, and then I will use it", no progress will ever be made toward the adoption of technologies which would improve safety, efficiency, and driver working conditions. 6. May I remind you that essentially every manufactured thing in your life, from the truck you drive to the medicines that rescue you from certain death due to infection, exists because someone was chasing the dollar. If someone can develop a new technological advance that makes truck operation safer or more efficient, they certainly deserve to reap some monetary reward, just a you reap a monetary reward for putting your life on the line to deliver goods and materials to people who need them. Every new device that comes into any aspect of our lives exists because someone was motivated to "make bank". 7. It should be obvious that nearly every improvement of every mode of modern transportation has been invented, designed, and developed by people with no first-hand (practical?) knowledge of the tasks for which they were designing. Airplanes are not designed by pilots. Truck drivers do not design and manufacture automatic transmissions, pollution control systems, or hybrid power systems. New container ships are not developed by ship captains. The list is endless. 8. So, in summary, let's move the focus of the discussion away from the concept of "driverless" vehicles, and instead focus on adopting technology that has the potential to improve safety, reliability, efficiency, and ease of use. I think that we can all agree that right now, today, "driverless" vehicles are not going to be a reality within the next year, five years, or maybe many decades, but we should not point to that as a reason to drag our feet on many incremental improvements that can be realized within the next few years.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Opinions on Self-driving trucks please!

A major consideration in the development of "driverless" vehicles (trucks, cars, trains, aircraft) is not a technical issue, it is a cultural issue. As a society, we are very slow to accept change of any kind. Back when automatic transmissions were first becoming common place on private automobiles, my grandmother refused to buy a car with an automatic transmission, because "I don't trust it". I still get a little nervous driving an electric car, every time I stop at a light, because I don't hear the engine running - and get a flashback to a time when cars would occasionally stall at a traffic light or stop sign (and be very difficult to restart). Everyone reading this can probably think of some technological advance with which you are not comfortable, even though you may see it used successfully every day. I was lucky enough in my previous career to have the opportunity to help develop the computer systems for some very complex semi-autonomous systems, so I'm pretty comfortable with the physics and technology that is required for "driverless" vehicles, but that knowledge also tells me that we are a long ways from the goal. If you have followed the history of the railroad industry's efforts to implement "positive train control", you are aware of the challenges of what amounts to "driverless trains" - starting with the unhappy fact that GPS simply does not have the positional resolution required to reliably distinguish two points that are 13 feet apart, and the existing cellular telephony system was never designed for 100% reliability. We will see a continual evolution of technology that slowly moves towards an increasingly large array of features that make truck operation safer, such as (perhaps) lane positioning that automatically keeps the truck centered in the lane, even under severe challenges such as blowouts, slippery pavement, or being hit from the side by a passenger vehicle. Or load shift sensors on tankers, that warn the driver or force the truck to slow down or take evasive action when surge threatens to cause a roll-over accident. Or "smart" braking systems that can act to prevent jack knifing by controlling every wheel brake independently, as well as the steering and the power divider, once a skid starts to occur. So, if/when I get the opportunity to go OTR in my own truck, I'm going to be volunteering for every opportunity to be the first to road test those new technologies during their development. Every professional driver wants (I hope) safer, more efficient trucks that are easier to operate. How rapidly we progress down that path is limited primarily by our collective attitudes, and not by limitations in technology. And while the progress in computer and electronics technologies have had major impacts on every facet of life in the U.S. over the last 70+ years, I keep that progress in perspective by reminding myself that no matter what new technology enters our lives today, it is probably safe to say that no one alive today will ever see the unbelievable changes in life due to technology that my grandparents saw, from the time they traveled west by horse-drawn covered wagon until the time, late in life, when they traveled those same paths in hours instead of months while sitting in a Boeing 707. So embrace whatever new technology comes your way...it is not going to completely change your way of life, just make your life easier and perhaps more interesting.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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How Do I Get Background Information?

Brett, O.K. Thanks - that explains the HireRight deal, I guess that Jrod did not realize that I don't have any recent CDL experience (but I drove a private bus for a college back in the 1960's - I have no memory if I had to get a CDL then). I think my concern stems from not understanding the hiring process in this industry, which is clearly night-and-day different from any hiring / selection process I have ever experienced before.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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How Do I Get Background Information?

Got my response back from HireRight....mostly "no information". Given all the reports about every facet of our lives being in some database somewhere, it is pretty weird that a background investigation would come up with " no information" on someone my age (70). I wonder if that is going to sit too well with potential employers, unless HireRight is not telling me everything they know?

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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How Do I Get Background Information?

Jrod, Is the "background check" just an MVR and Credit Bureau inquiry, or is there more? I've received my new Passport and TWIC card; what else would there be? Oh, and I lived in five different states prior to 1979, is the background check likely go back that far? I certainly do not have any records about license numbers, addresses, or anything else from that far back (except some college transcripts). When you say "If you fill out an app with me, I'll run you one and send it to you...", do you mean an MVR or a "background check" (whatever that really is)? Thanks!

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