The Autonomous Trucking Forum - Information On A New Era Of Trucking

Discussion in 'Autonomous Trucking' started by Mike, Mar 10, 2017.

Will the era of autonomous trucking succeed or fail?

  1. Succeed

    4 vote(s)
  2. Fail

    2 vote(s)
  3. Unsure

    3 vote(s)
  1. Sinister

    Sinister Smartass Emeritus Supporter

    They show autonomous trucks in the new Logan movie.

    They were moving containers and didn't stop at all.

    Almost hit a few horses.

    That would have been cool to see.
  2. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian, Eh! Staff Member

    The problem with rail is the same problem with rail crews on have so many hours and unlike trucking if the train crew can not make it to it's hand off point the train needs to be re-crewed keep in mind that these are union boys running the rails.
    I don't know how many times a train would need a crew change on a run from Toronto to Chicago but I know a truck can do it in one shot.
    9 1/2 hours before that stupid 30 minute break but now it would take 10 at least.
  3. dmerchound

    dmerchound Member

    I have a few thoughts on this subject, and some were already mentioned by others:

    Infrastructure. I don't know how this will play out, but it seems to me that if companies want to have this capability they should be the ones to pay for the infrastructure. I can't imagine that it would be cost effective to replace drivers at this point or into the foreseeable future, say 20 to 25 years out. The integration of reliable technology, and that is the key - reliable technology, and infrastructure that can support the technology has got to be an immense expense. It's one thing to test this stuff out in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona on closed test tracks. It's an entirely different experience to get that technology to be as close to perfect as is possible and have it work reliably in the densest populated areas in the Heartland, New England and Canada. And when it comes to Canada I don't see it being implemented beyond the 400 series in Ontario and the AutoRoute series in Quebec, and even then you're probably looking at 30 to 50 years. The optimist Engineers will tell you it's no problem, but the reality is that the commerce routes in these areas are complex and require judgment that artificial intelligence and sensors are currently not capable of calculating. Or, maybe it can in clear dry conditions and 70 degrees, but as some of you have experienced technology often fails when it's -20, you can't see the bulldog on the hood and when you step off of the side of the truck you fall on your ass because it's a glare sheet of ice. Anyway, my advice, if anyone wants it, is to just take a deep breath, learn about the technology and what the carrier's objectives are and make your own determination about how soon you think it can be achieved. Based on what I am seeing, this will not be implemented overnight. They will start implementing it in the easiest regions with the highest freight density. It will likely be dry freight, high $$$ density and long interval distances. You know better than me where that is.

    The second observation I have is this. If companies do decide to have the trucks drive themselves in ideal conditions and then require a human to drive the trucks when things get complex, how do they hope to avoid negative outcomes. Part of being competent in high stress situations is having a high level of comfort, confidence and competence with the equipment being operated in mundane situations and conditions. So how are they going to fix that problem??? With more marginal training that they already don't invest in? So you ride in the bunk for 16 hours in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and so on, and then all of a sudden some alarm is ringing or flashing and you have to take over in a blizzard in North Dakota... like WTF? Joey has all of 100 hours learning how to drive in sunny Florida, and now he has to take over from the machine in a high stress, high skills required environment. That kind of scenario has got to be explored, because if that's the case... well use your imagination.
    Injun, rigjockey, Mike and 1 other person like this.
  4. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good points @dmerchound

    There are so many variables regarding the benefits of experienced drivers behind the wheel. These variables are going to take much thought in regards to providing a successful transition.

    I don't know how much infrastructure work will be required. The truck that ran through Colorado ran with no infrastructure changes at all. This wasn't a closed course, as it ran with the normal traffic.
  5. dmerchound

    dmerchound Member

    I found an interesting article.

    It highlights the fact that the trucks still need human interaction. I do not see how this is safer. If anything it's less safe as remote drivers could be motivated to take chances that they might not normally take if they were in the cab. It's easy to say that companies could hire more people to "drive from home", but how in the heck do you regulate and police that??? I could see me now... sipping on some Crown Royal and driving a Peterbilt up over Roger's Pass...LOL. Or, god forbid, you have to go in to the company and drive while someone stands over your shoulder in a facking office. That horror show just passed before my eyes!!!

    Here's some food for thought: Automation & Ethics
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017

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