New Driver Less Trucks- Will It Be A Real Job Killer?

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Boris D.'s Comment
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Hi I think they will be real job killer for all of us. what do you think?

C. S.'s Comment
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Since they will be required to have a driver onboard at all times, I don't think they will necessarily be a job killer. Wages might be seriously affected though, and not for the better.

Boris D.'s Comment
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Since they will be required to have a driver onboard at all times, I don't think they will necessarily be a job killer. Wages might be seriously affected though, and not for the better.

They will soon or later replace our position.

G-Town's Comment
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preliminary

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Since they will be required to have a driver onboard at all times, I don't think they will necessarily be a job killer. Wages might be seriously affected though, and not for the better.

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They will soon or later replace our position.

I disagree...commercial aircraft fly themselves, using auto-pilot. Nothing new about that. The pilot is only actively involved with the pre-takeoff safety check, runway taxi, take-off and landing. Once at altitude they do not touch the controls. I believe it will be similar for us, but it could take a decade to get to that point and even then in limited freight corridors. Yes, it will eventually change the industry and obviously the type and distribution of jobs. None of us has the clairvoyance, political or corporate connections required to predict exactly how the cards will land. Taking a doom and gloom attitude towards this change is totally premature. .

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I find it interesting that so many companies are touting autonomous cars and trucks when I see no reason to believe they're going to be able to pull it off anytime soon. I mean, the safety devices of today like lane control, collision avoidance, and automatic braking are wrong about the circumstances far too often to be considered reliable. And they certainly can't see what's happening 1/2 mile up the road to predict what's coming. GPS systems are still so unreliable they're kinda considered a joke when it comes to navigating a big rig around the country. And they're claiming that suddenly we're going to make this gigantic leap to trucks and cars that navigate the country without our help? How about let's start with getting me to the grocery store without taking my down a dirt road and stop telling me "turn left to stay on Nesbitt road" when I'm already on Nesbitt road and there is no turn to "stay on it". Seriously.

Remember, the 'obvious' future back in the 50's was that everything would be run by robots by the 80's and we'd all have flying cars like the Jetsons. In the 80's everyone said the entire world would be doing everything using virtual reality and holograms. When "Jaws 3D" came out in 1983 I knew without a doubt that soon all movies and television would be 3D.

There is a ton of technology that has been available for many years or even decades that never made it into the mainstream. The forces working against these technologies and their practical limitations have rendered them unusable or condemned them to the sci-fi niche. I don't believe self-driving vehicles are going to happen anytime soon, just like robots everywhere and flying cars and virtual reality never took hold.

Unfortunately I also see nothing that is going to increase driver wages in any meaningful way either. The economics of the trucking industry are such that driver wages have been stagnant for decades. When you account for inflation, drivers are making less than half today what we were making in the early 90's when I started driving.

OldRookie's Comment
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... The economics of the trucking industry are such that driver wages have been stagnant for decades. ...

As to driver wages, Brett is right on point, "the economics of the trucking industry" do not support higher wages, in general, and nothing is likely to change that fact. Like in many industries/spaces, the average worker's wages in our space (i.e. the average truck driver's wages) are not going to significantly change during our careers.

So... don't be average... be a top performer!

Chris K.'s Comment
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Backing...!!!! All I have to say about that!

OldRookie's Comment
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Backing...!!!! All I have to say about that!

Good point. Major distribution centers, terminals, etc. will be redesigned to accommodate/eliminate the need for the more difficult maneuvers. But, as others have pointed out, like the airlines, there will likely be "pilots" on board for "take-offs and landings" and those drivers will deal with whatever the truck can't on its own.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bob H.'s Comment
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Backing...!!!! All I have to say about that!

Not so sure. They are making progress there too. Wanna see a feature that would be cool to have in a truck? Visit the Ford website and watch the video on the F-150 with Pro Trailer Backup Assist. Yes, it requires driver input.....for now. Even though technology is advancing, I agree with those who feel that trucking is heading towards a path similar to the airline industry, where pilots (drivers) are still not obsolete despite decades of automated flight controls.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Realize the true reality of this coming to market. The developers will need to package it so that the trucking companies buy it. If it's cost prohibitive, it will never fly. If it's difficult to maintain, it will be disabled. If it causes more accidents then it prevents, there will be an entirely new type of law practice. Trucking companies like every business must identify an achievable return on any investment (ROI) they make. ROI in the trucking business needs to occur perhaps quicker than most businesses because of the lofty operating ratios. Figuratively speaking the jury hasn't even entered the courtroom on the cost vs. benefit case. Also remember that much of the current funding is coming from the federal government. There is enough industry skepticism that the likelihood of this technology becoming pervasive in the current decade is very low. Granted that's my opinion but experience has taught me that whenever the government is involved with something, progress moves slowly, it's subject to change on a whim and on very little notice.

However this whole "autonomous truck" premise is disturbing to me, and not for the reasons you might think. What if the government and the industry redirected funding to develop a better, more consistent and standardized training program for becoming a truck driver? Gee, what a concept. Our country seems to constantly gravitate towards the symptom of a problem instead of the cause. Especially if attacking the symptom is media worthy and has major technological and political sizzle like this does.

With that said, I firmly believe the government and the general public continue to ignore the greatest direct and indirect contributor to truck accidents;...automobiles and the diminished capacity of their operators to drive safely and with reasonable prudence. The elephant in the room is most drivers in this country lack skill, knowledge, and common sense. Coupled with that are a myriad of electronic features that further distract from the most important focus, driving. It's more pressing and urgent to send a text message than to manage following distance and obey the speed limit. It's madness.

Most drivers do not consider driving a privilege, but their right as a US citizen. Isn't it a Constitutional Amendment? So it would seem. Beyond High School, there is no proactive requirement for refreshers, re-testing or any program designed to improve skill, awareness, or basic knowledge for the non-professional driver. Consider the tests we take before being awarded the CDL. Do you remember the extent of the test you took to get your automobile drivers license? It was way too easy and quick. I passionately believe the fundamental issue of accident reduction and safety is better solved by systematically attacking the root of the problem instead of "teaching" a computer to drive for us. I could easily write thousands of words on this subject, but I think my point is obvious. My two cents...

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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