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

    5 vote(s)
  2. Fail

    6 vote(s)
  3. Unsure

    5 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.

    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 Active 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.
    • Like Like x 4
  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 Active 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
  6. Ranger_375

    Ranger_375 Well-Known Member

    Except that the only thing it did was drive the highway. Everything including loading, departure signoff on bills, and approach to/merge onto highway, was driver operated. Same with departure to and delivery.

    Another place these will have one hell of a hard time to take over: Anything open deck.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    Pretty simple. Just get the guys that load the stuff trained in load securement. They throw the straps, Tarp it and send the truck on it's way. Have servos that self tighten the straps every few miles or hours.
    I am not saying self driving trucks are even close to the trajectory that the computer people are saying, I am just pointing out that when they are ready there will be work arounds in the industry.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. ironpony

    ironpony Well-Known Member Supporter

    There will be plenty of drivers around... we just may be doing different stuff.
  9. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    Precarious work is the new trend. Fueling the truck might be a guy at the fuel island fueling trucks and scanning a bar code on the truck that is linked to an account with the truck stop.

    Purely speculation on my part but that is how i see incidentals being handled.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. ironpony

    ironpony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Robot drives into bay. Truck RFID chip is scanned for billing. Automated fuel pump sticks tank, and pumps till full. Robot drives away.

    @rigjockey - recently employed by truck service firm gets ta pressure wash fuel bays.

    • Like Like x 2
  11. Ranger_375

    Ranger_375 Well-Known Member

    So when the load shifts, how does that get addressed? What does the truck do if a chain or strap fails because of load shift or simple wear/tear? How can it even detect that? Just cinching them down means you'll crank the snot out of them and damage some loads. It's less viable and such an easy solution as you think.

    Where automated trucking will shine is hub/spoke operations. Automated trucks honestly will hit Old Dominion, YRC, Reddaway, Fedex/UPS/ETC, really hard on the backbone side. Point to point shipping, and final mile, not so much. It's most feasible for them because they would easily be able to configure a vehicle reception/departure checkpoint where the power units could be disconnected and reconnected by yard personnel.

    Even that fantastically automated beer load being bragged about, had human requirements on both ends.

    Drop-hook type operations at big DC's would still be complicated plus require human input above/beyond what the customer is going to accept, as they would be confirming locked kingpins, connecting air lines, etc. I don't see Lowes or Home Depot accepting responsibility at ALL for having automated trucks deliver to their facility, and having to do connections/etc. They now take on additional legal responsibility if something fails on the road, and they also are accepting additional work for their hostlers as the Auto-Drop point wouldn't be where the trailers actually need to go, as nothing has demonstrated they can even back a trailer up... which means you need a pull thru point to drop a load, then someone to move the power unit over to the empty and/or connect it to the empty. The Consignee isn't going to be cool with hopping in some other companies trucks nor with doing the hookups. Sure, you can get automated arms to hook up with, but how well are those going to handle a 90 degree blindside extension?

    Envision every mega, Swift, Knight, CR Eng, Bla de bla going automated right now.

    Auto-drive systems across the board still can't deal with stoplights and stopsigns, partially due to regulatory controls, partially due to system limitations. Throw in the additional maneuvers required for running a truck on city streets, and they have a lot of work to do.
  12. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    I don't know. I am not in charge of the program or details.
  13. dchawk81

    dchawk81 Well-Known Member

    They can't automate trucks. RJ wouldn't have anyone to yell at.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. ironpony

    ironpony Well-Known Member Supporter

    He could hollar at th' robots... you know... reprogrammed Imperial droids with a bad sense of humor.

  15. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    I can yell at Autonomous trucks, They same way I yell at the damned birds and squirrels and the danmed clouds in the sky.:D
    • Like Like x 2
  16. mosinee dave

    mosinee dave Well-Known Member

    Who will.go to.jail.if there is a accident and a fatalities? Now.a.driver can be charged with some.kind of neglect and possible.jail.time. Will.the person sitting in the the fall.guy? How.many trucks.will.he be monitoring
  17. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    Complete Autonomy... every aspect of life.

    It is what man's technology strives for, even if the result is his own demise. How ironic is that?

    A world where everything is either virtual, cloned, or autonomous.

    This is why I choose "Fail"

    People still need a viable place in this effed up world, regardless.

    Is the Autonomous government going to give them a virtual paycheck?
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    Will the prison systems have rooms large enough for Autonomous rigs?

    I mean, just sayin'... one might just kill someone.... or fail a DOT drug screen.....
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    Wayne Schooling from NTA just wrote an article about what's in store for 2017 as far as wage and hour litigation is concerned.

    "Penske Logistics of Reading, Pennsylvania, which ranks #22 of the largest U.S and Canada for-hire carriers, has just agreed to pay 344 drivers a total of $750,000 to settle a long-standing class-action lawsuit over a California meal and rest break law. After nearly 9 years of litigation, including an appeal to the 8th Circuiit Court of District Appeals, and an unsuccessful attempt by Penske for a Supreme Court review, the parties reached a preliminary settlement of the remaining certified claims on February 4, subject to the final court approval in May."

    Schooling goes on to talk about the FAAAA and pre-emption clauses... etc., etc.,

    My point being this: In the final paragraph of his novel, he say's this:

    "Here is something for all those drivers (and all company drivers, for that matter) to think about. Now, can you see why "driverless trucks" might be an attractive option for big trucking companies? Less "problems" (employees) to worry about!

    Let's go, driverless ho!
    • Like Like x 1

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