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

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Finally, let's talk about who really dictates what we can do or can not do in the trucking industry - insurance companies. Right now only a handful of companies nationwide hire new drivers because the insurance costs are outrageous for inexperienced drivers.

Not only that, but how old do you have to be to get a Class A CDL? 18 years old. Now how many 18 year olds have you seen behind the wheel of a big rig? In 25 years in this industry I've yet to ever hear of one. There has to be some out there somewhere, I imagine, but it's incredibly rare. Why? Insurance costs. In fact, many companies require drivers to be 23 or even 25 years old, all to lower insurance costs.

So if you can't hire new drivers or hire young drivers in an industry that is desperate for drivers, how in the world do you think you're going to get insurance companies to cover autonomous trucks? Good luck with that.

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.
Andrew J.'s Comment
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Https://moneymaven.io/mishtalk/economics/self-driving-truck-startup-tusimple-confident-of-commercial-driverless-by-2021--FY5ce4I4UCGUPXRgzavRQ/

Ok I’ve calmed down a bit since reading Brett’s responses on self driving trucks. Most of what’s going on is these companies trying to raise money and people want to get in on the action. I don’t doubt that the technology is available but I can’t see them being used wide spread on the roads for a very long time. There has just been a lot on the news recently about this and it has gotten me a little worried. Im only 7 months in in this industry and would like to work for 25 years.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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I can’t even get my cruise control to work reliably because the sensor gets dirty, or snowy, or just doesn’t feel like working.

How exactly are the sensors for autonomous trucks going to overcome sensor issues? Suddenly stop on the middle of the road? Charge ahead blindly and hope for the best?

Same for when the computer suddenly freezes, and a hundred other things that could go wrong.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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There have been numerous times where my truck picked up a phantom object in the road and started a collision event. The Freightliners I drove would actually slam on the breaks sometimes, until they can get these basic problems resolved it will be awhile before you have to worry.

Andrew J.'s Comment
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It’s amazing the number of people I talk to that say it’s happening in the next few years. My driver trainer at Roehl was telling us in the truck that it is going to happen and we won’t have jobs in 10 years. What a way to start at a new company. Then on social media I have conversations with people all the time that it is going to happen soon. What I realized is these people tend to be very pessimistic and cynical people with their views. They say “the technology is already there” “they are already making deliveries”. RVT referred to Steve Wozniak coming out a few months ago and saying that he can’t see it happening anytime soon. Steve Wozniak was the brains behind apple. If he says it isn’t going to happen it isn’t going to happen. His reasons are the same as Brett wrote in his article.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I believe it when airplanes no longer have pilots.

Look up Qantas Flight 77, in 2008 their main flight control computer malfunctioned and the pilots basically has zero control of the plane. The plane put itself into a 10 degree nose dive twice because it thought it was stalling when it wasnt. Over 100 people where hurt when they where unexpectedly slammed into the ceiling. The malfunctioning computer told the pilots that basically every system was failing when none where this same problem happened on at least 3 planes.

My point to this rambling? Imagine a 80k pound truck when the computer decides to freak out and not stop for something in front of it, or swerves for no reason. There is a lot more to hit on the ground than in the air.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Andrew J, Don't worry about it. Think of all the millions of existing trucks out there. It will be cheaper to keep a driver running than to retrofit those trucks with autonomous technology.

It would be interesting to know how long it took to develop workable Automatics for trucks. How long was it from inception to a practical reality? I'll bet it took many, many years. And it's not just a matter of the trucks themselves. It is a Transportation SYSTEM. Therefore, it's a chain reaction. Every link in the chain would have to be modified to accommodate the new truck technology.

And older drivers like myself would be the first to go. You young guys can always switch to being Lumpers.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I believe it when airplanes no longer have pilots.

Look up Qantas Flight 77, in 2008 their main flight control computer malfunctioned and the pilots basically has zero control of the plane. The plane put itself into a 10 degree nose dive twice because it thought it was stalling when it wasnt. Over 100 people where hurt when they where unexpectedly slammed into the ceiling. The malfunctioning computer told the pilots that basically every system was failing when none where this same problem happened on at least 3 planes.

My point to this rambling? Imagine a 80k pound truck when the computer decides to freak out and not stop for something in front of it, or swerves for no reason. There is a lot more to hit on the ground than in the air.

We need only to look at the two recent 737 crashes...software and a flight sensor were the cause. It was a know “bug”, requiring the pilot to bypass autoflight and switch to manual.

This subject has a legendary life of its own, and honestly, from my perspective just noise that serves nothing more than a minor distraction from the primary purpose of this forum.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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