Opinions On Self-driving Trucks Please!

Topic 23481 | Page 1

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Lopan's Comment
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I hear a lot of drivers worried that we're a dying breed because the self-drivers are going to take us over. I hear this all over the news, but when I've really looked into it, it doesn't look like their making real progress in getting 18 wheelers anywhere near the ability to self-drive. Uber has spike their auto truck program. I ultimately think the whole thing is going to turn into a glorified cruise control.

What's y'alls thoughts on this?

Jamie's Comment
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It'll most likely be like auto-polit on airplanes but they still require a pilot and co-polit in order to fly. It'll be years before trucks would be able to really do a decent job but it'd be a high risk considering I believe self driving cars or trucks will never work efficiently unless all other vehicles on the road are self driving due to increase chance of human error.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
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Self driving is too rife with risk at this point. Not to say it won't happen, but there was a great outpouring of publicity a while back about "platooning" commercial vehicles, and how they would make things 'safer' for the motoring public. Possibly. Until some Kipling-esque Elephant's Child, blessed in insatiable curiousity, decides that it might JUST be possible to make that truck in the middle with that funny little square on point sign on the side make a right turn out into that field there...

I think the powers that be, whomever they are, will keep working on it. I suspect there will be a tragedy involving loss of human life with environmental damage. And then we'll see where the line gets drawn. As long as the money makers, the darlings of popculture, with the technology, tout them as safe, the move will continue forward.

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect that for every brainiac trying to make a safe self driver, their are dozens (maybe more) of highschool and college aged types that are looking for ways to get inside and corrupt the tech. My opinion is, however, worth exactly $.02....

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I think it's all hype meant to generate investment money for tech startups and research at universities. Here's my take:

Self-Driving Vehicles Are Not Coming Anytime Soon

Chuck S.'s Comment
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I agree... there are too many things in this industry that humans need to be involved in ... first even if they do advance to there goal of self driving at any distance... how are they going to deal with winter driving conditions... I just don't see it happening ... and this is just one example

I hear a lot of drivers worried that we're a dying breed because the self-drivers are going to take us over. I hear this all over the news, but when I've really looked into it, it doesn't look like their making real progress in getting 18 wheelers anywhere near the ability to self-drive. Uber has spike their auto truck program. I ultimately think the whole thing is going to turn into a glorified cruise control.

What's y'alls thoughts on this?

Parrothead66's Comment
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They’re about the same as Big Foot & The Loch Ness Monster

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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I already have a self driving truck. We all have a self driving truck. We drive them by our SELF! smile.gifrofl-2.gifrofl-1.gifundefinedrofl-1.gif

Roy1024's Comment
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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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Embrace any technology where the risk outweighs the reward? No.

Once fully tested; proven safe and reliable is when I can begin to embrace this. A big “if” considering the rush to development and the fiscal ethics typically applied to comprehensive software testing. This is a money play, in the incubator stage right now that will leave many “busted” players in its wake.

My opinion is more about infrastructure control or lack there-of. With trains there is a hard physical infrastructure control called track limiting the path travelled. Our “track” is a road with superficial, highly soft boundaries containing many moving objects outside of direct and consistent control, thus enabling an operational environment that allows an infinite amount of variables. How can you test under this criteria? No one considers this...not the media and typically not the people in support of this technology.

Until the highway system is re-engineered to support the “point” technology, the reality of this is many decades away. Potentially costing tax payers many billions of dollars. Think about your 707 reference from a chronological perspective. In the 50s, 60s and well into the late 70s commercial aircraft crashed with far greater frequency than what occurs today. It took decades to perfect the physical and digital control systems creating the highly reliable and 99.9999% safety record we expect and demand today. Autonomous Truck Operation will require a similar period of shakedown when the reality of testing limitations is exceeded and a serious accident occurs. This has already occurrred with similar technology in driverless automobiles. Vehicles that weigh less than 5% of my loaded truck weight. The Physics is daunting.

Money and politics will eventually replace the rush to development slowing adoption to the speed of a glacier. A line hasn’t been drawn yet...but it will.

Decades...

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

My opinion is more about infrastructure control or lack there-of. With trains there is a hard physical infrastructure control called track limiting the path travelled. Our “track” is a road with superficial, highly soft boundaries containing many moving objects outside of direct and consistent control, thus enabling an operational environment that allows an infinite amount of variables. How can you test under this criteria? No one considers this...not the media and typically not the people in support of this technology.

Until the highway system is re-engineered to support the “point” technology, the reality of this is many decades away. Potentially costing tax payers many billions of dollars. ...

Decades...

G-Town, sound analysis. Your assessment of this being a money play is, imo, spot on. There is huge money to be made in this arena, and many speculators / entrepreneurs / investors willing to make bank on it. The cost to taxpayers doesn't include the human cost in lives lost / destroyed when 80k# goes awry in an epic fashion, and I suspect is not a consideration by those intending to make their fortunes on this.

I'm not a Luddite or "technophobic", I just don't trust people who have no practical knowledge of a task to make decisions about technology related to allegedly improving that task.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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