Truck Drivers May Soon See "phantoms" Driving Yard Trucks

Topic 25344 | Page 1

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DaveW's Comment
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Truck drivers arriving at a distribution center in the very near future could be greeted by the sight of yard trucks running around the facility as usual -- hooking, unhooking, pulling trailers and hitting docks – but with one major difference … all that without a human being behind the wheel.

Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm Interested to see how it all turns out. I'm not sure how the company's will save money though as most yards I've been to with yard trucks, the driver is whipping around because they've got too much of a workload. Also they will still need someone to swing the doors unless they convert to roll up doors which could got costly. Thank you for the great article Dave, I'd never considered it before.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Interesting article. Not sure in the short/long run, how cost-effective paying a company to run your remote-controlled trucks (that will be more expensive than regular yard mules) will be - versus the guy you're paying minimum wage (or close to it) to do now. And it still appears to be operating at a 1:1 ration of human to truck.

You still have a human in control (as a ramp-up to teaching AI how to do it without intervention), and a down internet connection could pout a DC out of business.

There's no doubt in a decade or so, we'll see more automation coming into being - but for the forseeable (my lifetime) future, still gotta be a human there.

You can pay me regular mileage rate to sit and watch movies while my truck navigates the boring open highway by itself. But until EVERY VEHICLE is under centralized computer control - there will always be the variable of ANOTHER DRIVER doing something unexpected/stupid (one of the main reasons I don't ride a motorcycle any longer).

It WILL COME eventually - maybe in my 20-something-kids lifetime - but I don't seeing it happening just yet on the open road, and for those of us middle-aged folks, don't see it putting US out of a job in our lifetimes.

Rick

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Scott D.'s Comment
member avatar

And Skynet continues to become a reality xD

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I’ve generally found yard drivers to be friendly and helpful, but I seldom have to interact with them. Some of them seem to have a chip on their shoulder, but if I approach them with a friendly and respectful attitude, most are good guys just trying to make a living like anybody else. They get a bad rap, I think, because a few are in need of an etiquette course from Emily Post, but I think they are better than remote controlled yard trucks.

Robsteeler's Comment
member avatar

You still need a CDL , so I don't understand how yard dogs can get paid so poorly. They've got to be getting decent money or they'd drive on the road. Wouldn't they?

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

You still need a CDL , so I don't understand how yard dogs can get paid so poorly. They've got to be getting decent money or they'd drive on the road. Wouldn't they?

Actually - if you're operating on private property, you don't need a CDL.

My Longshoreman union buddies on the port, operate mules moving containers from dock to all over the port. But in the rare instance something needs to leave the yard and operate on city streets, you need a CDL. They do about 25 hours of training pulling container trailers for certification.

Same applies to mule drivers (at least here in FL). As long as the combination stays on private property, no CDL required.

We have a couple of REALLY BAD places for trying to bump docks down here, I considered buying a used mule and hanging out charging $20 a box to bump the dock for drivers. Seen a few guys really screw up their rigs trying to bump dock in a particular place.

Rick

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, there's no CDL requirement to operate a yard dog. Most of the SAPA plants that I pick up and deliver to have non CDL employees moving the trailers around to various loading bays.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I talked to one yard driver who had been OTR for 26 years. He had 3 heart attacks and couldn’t get a DOT med card anymore, so he drove a yard truck. Maybe this is a common scenario for yard drivers.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Anne A. (G13MomCat)'s Comment
member avatar

Love to see Rick S around.

just my two cents..the HOSTLER at my hubby's company makes 30 bux an hour.. and most of the drivers do not utilize his skills. Went there with husband this mornin.... omigosh.

He moved 13 THIRTEEN trailers and i don't even know why. These guys earn their stripes. Good Lord. I'd LOVE to do that, but..yep, nope.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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