How Many Years Do We Have Left Before Autonomous/computerized Trucks Make Us All Unemployed?

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Paul F.'s Comment
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Self-driving trucks are coming. They are already on the road in Germany. Soon they will be here. Even if a CDL driver has to be behind the wheel eventually our pay will be cut, and then we will be out of a job completely. How long do you all think we have left?


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C. S.'s Comment
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It has already begun. The downfall of human drivers is inevitable, resistance is futile. Accept your fate quietly and we may allow you to fuel us and polish our wheels. Beep boop.

Anchorman's Comment
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Tractor Man's Comment
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There will never be 1,000,000+ self driving trucks on the road in my lifetime! When I was in grade school in the 60s thet said we would have flying cars. It will take decsdes for that technology to even come close to replacing human drivers on any scale at all. Germany is a much smaller Country geographically than the US. We already have self driving freight haulers all across the Country. They are called trains! rofl-2.gif

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Well, considering the fact that this site is mainly compromised of old farts, my answer would be "not in your life time so don't worry about it".

As for me, I'm pulling my hair out already!


Tractor Man's Comment
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Gee thanks Daniel. You are such an "AGEIST", if that is even a word.


Phoenix's Comment
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Old farts and fartettes, thank you very much! rofl-3.gif

Pat M.'s Comment
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The government cannot afford to lose the tax payers. It will be a long time before this happens if at all. Even the trains still have engineers on them with the exception of some localized yard moves. And they have their own roads. If you cannot automate a train that has a dedicated pathway how are you going to do it for trucks?

6 string rhythm's Comment
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This topic is ridiculous. The infrastructure doesn't support it. Random "life-stuff" doesn't support it. A major interstate was shutdown today and a detour was put in place. I mapped out my own detour and saved a lot of time. I took roads that were "clear" according to the gospel of Rand McNally, but still encountered obstacles like a round-a-bout in small, podunk town. How in the world is an automated truck to navigate this chain of events, literally and figuratively?

For multiple other reasons, I just can't fathom this becoming a reality. Professional drivers have nothing to worry about. By the time drivers should worry, we'll all have DeLoreans and will be able to shoot back to future in order to resume our jobs as truck drivers.


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Brett Aquila's Comment
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I agree completely with the naysayers. Look back through the past 75 years of history and you'll see that long ago we were expected to have robots automating everything, flying cars, virtual reality and augmented reality everywhere, holograms, commercial space flight, and all sorts of things. Heck, my driveway still has two trucks with gas-burning V8 engines. I still vacuum my own floor and wash my own dishes without robots to do it for me. Heck, we can't even manage to make high speed trains happen.

There is a gigantic list of technologies that have existed for years or even decades that have never seen the light of day in our society for a variety of reasons. Some aren't economically feasible, some are being blocked by people holding the patents, others are being blocked by legislation, and most get clogged up for a variety of different reasons.

Not to mention, they have to sell this idea to the public. Sure, don't worry moms - you can safely drive your children to school while being surrounded by 80,000 pound trucks that are driving themselves. It's not like a system malfunction, a computer hacker, or an unforeseen event could ever cause a catastrophe, right?

Wait til the first autonomous truck gets in a fatal wreck and see how the public reacts.


If anything is in position to change the face of truck deliveries in the future I would expect it to be drones. It wouldn't be difficult at all to setup superhighways in the sky to transport goods and you can build drones as small or as large as you like. They can zip from any point to any point while avoiding obstructions completely on their own and they can make pickups and deliveries from doorstep to doorstep.

But even with drones you're going to see endless red tape, all sorts of industries trying to block them, legislation to make them too cumbersome to be viable, and technical hurdles that make them economically unfeasible for many applications.

Unfortunately there is nothing to indicate that driver salaries will rise in the coming years even without autonomous trucks or drones I'm afraid. Driver wages, when adjusted for inflation, haven't grown in decades and in fact have dropped significantly. Here's a chart I've shared a few times:


Not only that but technology, competition overseas, and the fall of unions has indeed eliminated a huge portion of the good paying blue collar jobs. Trucking is one of the last blue collar industries remaining that pays a living wage and the "shortage of truck drivers" you hear about isn't actually a shortage at all. There's just a very high turnover rate. So I don't see anything that's going to bring driver wages up in the coming years. I expect them to remain about where they are.

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