Platooning Passes Real-world Tests; New Company Emerges As Leader

Topic 28678 | Page 2

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Joseph D.'s Comment
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Yea for real. I could maybe, and I stress maybe, see trucks having an autopilot feature similar to airplanes. Driver is still in the drivers seat hands on the wheel and paying full attention while the truck drives it self on the highway. Still not a system I would want in my truck.

As someone who drives in Chicago and surrounding suburbs I can’t imagine a truck navigating itself around low bridges, taking tight turns and making backing maneuvers into some of the docks I see. Especially the ones where your using a busy street waiting for a small break in the traffic to set up and back the trailer into the dock. Tesla may have the best self driving system right now and it’s faaaar from perfect and that’s a tiny car. But what do I know, I’m just a truck driver.

J.D.'s Comment
member avatar

Fascinating, eh? I've been studying this apparently naive autonomous vehicle push to automate the transportation sector, particularly with trucking where I have a biased interest, yet while trying to remain "objective... But I hadn't come across this "step" yet. What's been missing is enough of a more balanced inside perspective like Brett's (who I hope is available for media interviews?), savvy with both the practical real-world side as well as the software/tech side). So far it seems like in their very wishful thinking these tech-head proponents are seeing through rosy glasses clouded by dollar signs, and as a result they're not taking three major inter-related "human" aspects into account:

1) Invevitable human error! 2) Some likely Neo-Luddite sabotage, by those who for easily understandable reasons don't want to see such a future anytime soon, and aren't the type to do nothing about it when they can make a big difference. It won't take them all that much. Those who feel the world would be much better off pumping the brakes on AI and switching the societal default setting for tech to "guilty until proven innocent". Especially against literally "in your face" technologies like this that we're expected to just passively accept. Like the specter of delivery drones overhead as well... But, "Hey, it's all good for capitalism! Not safe enough and too intrusive on the citizenry, you whine? That's what the naysayers always say...what they said about blah-de-blah and just look at us now!" 3) And to the degree it succeeds, the actual as-usual financial effects which the automation will have on truckers (think Andrew Yang's rants).

Good question, as to how is this tech superior to using proven low-tech physical linkages between trailers, like "triples", and more? Yeah, more like traditional "locomotives". Geez those are controversial enough as it is, aren't they? This "plattoning" phenomenon has gotta mostly be simply about incrementally setting the stage for the robotic future and those who will profit from it, right? --E.Z.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I agree with Brett. Hell I can barely get my phone to work on this new 5g crap and they want to use that to push trucks down the road. Whats gonna happen when they are on the interstate around Atlanta and one of those nuts drivers that waits til the exit is right there to hit the ramp cuts in between the trucks because they don't know the first thing about the tech? We already see all these billboards about big truck crashes, the last thing we need is more negative press.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Did anyone else catch tonight's "60 Minutes" (8/23) on CBS? If you happen to have it recorded and haven't watched it yet, or can catch it online or a repeat elsewhere, you might want to check it out. They just re-ran their segment which I first saw in the spring, about the ready-or-not-gee-whiz, coming-NOW-to-a-freeway-near-you, marvel of fully autonomous big rigs. (I know some of you must have seen and discussed it then but I didn't notice. Maybe I should have posted this to the Autonomous Trucks forum so feel free to move it or tell me to re-post it there or whatever, but it says the last post there was about 2 1/2 years ago and this seems like a key issue to stay sort of up to date on.)

Anyway, according to, e.g., the company rep from "Tu-Simple" (talk about wishful thinking!) whom they featured, this is being tested like crazy, especially here in the Southwest U.S., as we speak... The current and obvious and inevitable techno-fix here to "solve the big problem" of too much much money wasted on all them pesky, sleep-needing, error-prone human drivers and their apparently unsustainable salaries... Poising to take over, like, no longer "in the future", but any time now. The main thing to me was how shockingly unregulated it still is at this point. So the specifics present a scary specter in terms of the sheer dangers and privacy concerns posed...unless you swallow the propaganda of how simply and quickly and safely and harmlessly this changeover will happen. What was naturally was not a surprise was that not all the experienced truckers they interviewed were completely bowled over by the impressive news, though the report did make it sound like hardly anyone has heard of the trend before when it comes to trucking. A couple of them, one woman in particular, pointed out practical everyday example or two of what can and will go wrong on the real world roads, issues these super-pricey high-tech monsters won't be prepared to navigate for quite some time. And did they address the socio-economic impact of the many hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost to this particular automation juggernaut? Uh, no, they didn't quite get to that. --E.Z. Rider

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Last night I was sitting at a NY toll plaza on I90 watching a show about self driving semis. The company is called TuSimple. Apparently they have a fleet of dozens of trucks and have already been doing successful real life road tests. Of course the $250,000 trucks still have to have humans on board just in case but the scary part is that they have no real oversight. When questioned by the reporter it seems they don't have to tell anyone including the motoring public, when they are testing, what they are carrying, how the tests are going, any safety data, any on the algorithms used, what kind of software they're using, what determines the trucks actions, what size an object must be to be recognized, how it determines what to recognize.....nothing. Now THATS scary.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Of course the $250,000 trucks still have to have humans on board just in case

They also need a team of engineers to oversee operations and an elaborate monitoring tech infrastructure running at all times.

I've said it many times already - this entire self-driving truck thing is nothing more than a marketing ploy for tech startups to get investors and sell their companies to larger companies. It's also funding university research departments.

In my opinion, you will not see an impact to our industry from self-driving trucks within the next two decades, possibly longer. Airplanes, trains, and ships have been capable of autonomous operations for decades, and all those are far easier to navigate using autonomous technology. Yet all of them have people operating them.

No form of transportation on the planet is more difficult to automate than big rigs, and the salary of big rig drivers is nowhere near that of commercial airline pilots or large ship captains, so the cost savings wouldn't really be worth the trouble even if you could pull off the technology, which they can't - not even close.

When should we be worried? When they actually begin building purpose-built highways with infrastructure to support autonomous tractor-trailers. When you see that happening, then you should be concerned. Check back with me in about 30 years and we'll see if they have accomplished anything yet.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Of course the $250,000 trucks still have to have humans on board just in case

double-quotes-end.png

They also need a team of engineers to oversee operations and an elaborate monitoring tech infrastructure running at all times.

I've said it many times already - this entire self-driving truck thing is nothing more than a marketing ploy for tech startups to get investors and sell their companies to larger companies. It's also funding university research departments.

In my opinion, you will not see an impact to our industry from self-driving trucks within the next two decades, possibly longer. Airplanes, trains, and ships have been capable of autonomous operations for decades, and all those are far easier to navigate using autonomous technology. Yet all of them have people operating them.

No form of transportation on the planet is more difficult to automate than big rigs, and the salary of big rig drivers is nowhere near that of commercial airline pilots or large ship captains, so the cost savings wouldn't really be worth the trouble even if you could pull off the technology, which they can't - not even close.

When should we be worried? When they actually begin building purpose-built highways with infrastructure to support autonomous tractor-trailers. When you see that happening, then you should be concerned. Check back with me in about 30 years and we'll see if they have accomplished anything yet.

Right? I've always said for automated trucks to be successful they would have to build roads specifically for them with the needed technology built in!

On these trucks currently they have a "driver" and an engineer on each truck every trip. What surprised me though was they are fully self contained electronically, no wifi connection needed. I always thought they would crash first time they lost the internet signal or someone hacked them. I guess that eliminates that threat. Thank god they've invented computers that dont freeze up or crash though...lol. I'll be truly impressed when the trucks can pump their own fuel and clean the bugs off their own sensors.

Guess I should have read all the posts....J.D.E.Z. R. Hit it first, i couldn't remember what the show was though. I too was surprised the drivers they interviewed acted like they had never heard of self driving trucks.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

And TuSimple is a Chinese-owned company here in the USA. Reason enough for me not to trust them. It's probably our stolen technology in there to begin with.

Andrew J.'s Comment
member avatar

I was watching this and thinking how often gps messes up. I’m a trainer with roehl and they tells us when with a student turn the gps off and look at the atlas and write down the directions. Have the student do that before they use the gps. What happens with the gps goes out is the machine going to take the atlas out and write down the directions? Lol. Or how about when I loose cell service for stretches along 80 in Pennsylvania. I mean how am I loosing cell service with att on one of the busiest highways in the country while in the northeast the most populated area of the country? And you think these trucks are going to do it themselves. It’s a joke. I love watching this younger generation talk about how technology is going to take over the world and I’m not even 40.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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