Bye-Bye Truckers....
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2019-02-10 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 214 references Ignore this thread
Bye-Bye Truckers....
[Comments enabled]

Truck driving is big business, and people are expensive.

They're about to be, to a large degree, gone.

What's in that link is an image captured of a driverless large truck on a 650-mile haul across I-10 from Texas to California.

A driver still takes the trailer to the interstate and drops it, then the automated truck hauls it to the other end, where a driver does the last few miles.

This will basically destroy the long-haul trucking business from an employment perspective and within a few years all long-haul will be done this way.

Why?  Because there's a $60,000+/year guy no longer behind the wheel of said truck, per truck.

If you can take that long-haul drive and make it autonomous in addition to removing the single salary you also remove the issue of time-behind-wheel, which means the truck can roll 24x7 instead of either needing a second driver on board (which doubles the cost of course) or it can't be moving for the majority of a given 24 hour period.

You only making money when the vehicle is in motion, so leaving labor costs aside you're more than doubling efficiency by not having time limits invade into the picture.

This is one of the middle-class jobs that is going to be almost completely gone within the next few years; there will still be truck drivers, but they'll all be short-haul and local -- and make much less money too.

smiley

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Wifi
Posts: 1040
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The very near future:

Breaking news!

The FBI, and the department of Homeland Security, are in route to lower Manhattan at this time, it is not known when they will be able to get to the epicenter, all entry to Manhattan, restricted due to the destruction and high levels of radiation. It is suspected a driver less truck entered the city carrying a nuclear device, it is known that two, or more nuclear warheads are missing from Minot AFB.......

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Hurricane Evacuation Plan
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Click
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Totally agree.

Moreover, just think how this is going to affect "truck stops" and other small and large business where truckes spend their money. I could go deeply into how this shall ripple through the economy, but I'll just give one example: many truckers live in rural communities where they spend their money. So this will hurt small towns all across America. It'll even affect real estate prices as truckers have to sell their homes and move to larger cities where they can find "local" driving jobs...

So, yeah, if you drive for a living, you better make money while you can and try and get ahead of the curve...
Aztrader
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Soon the cartels with start using them and not lose drivers when caught with drugs. Who pays when a truck crushes a car?......
Tickerguy
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The company that owns the truck, IF the truck was at fault. Which it usually won't be. These vehicles all have REALLY GOOD camera (and other sensor) coverage, which will be looked at to determine said fault -- more than just a dashcam as is the usual now for big rigs. I bet the number of times the truck is ruled at fault drops over human-operated trucks, so the liability will actually go down.

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Winding it down.

Asimov
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Az: The insurance company, just like it does now.

How much THAT costs won't be readily apparent until there's more data on how often they crash and how bad.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Wa9jml
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I can't wait for these driverless trucks to get caught out in a blinding whiteout on the Indiana Toll Road! All of those sensors will rapidly become utterly useless, and it will be total carnage out on that interstate. I have been through a number of these, and they really separate the Minnesota truckers from the Arkansas and Missouri truckers, and do so fast.
Sunnyp
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@Wa9jml Ground-penetrating radar might help with the weather.

https://www.motortrend.com/news/weatherp....
Ktrosper
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Creeps me out. And not because I think anyone's entitled to a job. Has to do with decision making and judgement based on an assload of inputs that cameras and other sensors can't give you.
/shrug Just one guy's opinion.
Maybe their safety record will be 10x human safety.

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Vernonb
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I think this far away myself. The tech may work on a long stretch of road out through the middle of nowhere but once these things have to deal with human interaction it will melt down and fail.

Driving a truck is not simply about getting from here to there. It is about navigation of the sea of human stupidity and needs across the roadways.

I see a lot of potential for truckers increasing their driving rates to more than 10x just for the shorthaul. As long as this bottle neck exists these companies are vulnerable to such tactics. Yeah maybe they go and hire illegals or imported foreign flunkies cause "these are jobs trucks do not want."

How do those vehicles respond in human conditioned situations. It is bad enough for a rational human to navigate through road jams in contruction zones and through/around cities. Sometimes you have to be a little "aggressive" without being suicidal when other drivers refuse to cooperate.

Will laws now be passed that make it unlawful to inhibit merge of automated vechicles? Would most of the asses causing the probems on the roadways even care? I think not.

Once there are serious accidents that compounds the issues and people and other goods are delayed this will all come to screeching halt.

No one is going to care whose fault it was. Communities are going to remember it was an automated vehicle involved that caused my one hour commute to become constantly 5+ or longer or worse.

How are these vehicle going to respond to sitations like people speeding to get to hospitals and the like. Are they going to be road hogs? If they cause the death of person through the delay the owners should be charged with murder IMO.

You might replace the trivial aspects of the human being with a machine but you cant replace the reasoning and the soul of human being to deal with other humans.

This will be the real fail.

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"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Tonythetiger
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Fort Walton
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Seems like there would still be a lot of issues to work through before going Prime Time.

Cameras would not be good enough for driving in snow, fog, smoke, or heavy rain. Icy roads anyone?

How do you handle truck inspection stations without a driver to open the trailer?

What if the GPS, or equivalent, positioning system stops operating?
Tickerguy
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@Tonythetiger -- LIDAR systems are not "cameras", and they can (and will) augment with millimeter-wave radar that can see through fog. VERY heavy precipitation will cut the range materially but that's trivially responded to by programming the system to not run at a speed that exceeds current sensor range in terms of ability to stop. Unlike a human that has to guess the computer knows, to the inch, what that range is.

The systems are expensive as hell but with volume cost will come down. Even so we're talking about a year's salary for the hardware yet it will pay for itself in six months anyway since there is no "houring out" for a computer. In another few years the hardware will be MUCH cheaper but even today it's a big economic win.

Inspections? On each end, and not in the middle. The trailer is sealed and monitored full-time from end-to-end; no truck inspection station stops as is the case now, since the trailer cannot be opened while in transit. If anyone violates the seals the vehicle pulls off the road, stops and signals for the DOT dudes to descend on it.

If a system failure occurs the vehicle pulls over and signals for assistance; another cab shows up, the first one drops the load and the second picks it up, continuing onward in a couple of hours.

Long-haul trucking is done.

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Winding it down.
Asimov
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Quote:
I see a lot of potential for truckers increasing their driving rates to more than 10x just for the shorthaul.


Nope. Shorthaul is already what most truckers want so they can be home every day. Take all the long haul truckers and put them out of work and you think rates for short haul will go up? Hah.

You'd be lucky if you get much more than minimum wage for those jobs.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Asimov
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There's already some way (I dunno exactly how it works) that trucks can bypass inspection/weigh stations electronically.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Tickerguy
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@Asimov -- They don't actually bypass, they are checked once.

Same basic deal as I outlined above -- the trailers are sealed and verified at the first station, and the cab has a transponder in it. That's what that "Thigny" pointing sort of at your windshield is before the weigh stations; it's a near-field RF interrogator.

The cab has a transponder in it and is interrogated as the truck approaches; if it's been cleared previously the driver is signaled to bypass the inspection. It's capable of being gamed to SOME extent at present but driverless trucks with sensors all over the trailer and cab integrated into that system will make it MUCH harder to game down the road, since such sensor systems can use cryptographic keying in their messaging and if gamed and caught the responsible parties will be able to have liability positively laid upon them.

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Winding it down.
Djloche
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Perfect for setting up a JIT disaster

The self driving cloud system goes offline several days in a row and their socialist utopia cities start looking like mad max

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Mangymutt
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So what does happen after a crash? Life happens in strange ways, especially when you cram 10's of thousands of strangers on a strip of asphalt and expect them to behave like a single unit.....Which they actually do a decent job of.

Robots, in this case computer code cannot think, nor can it have emotion, so why is it no surprise a soulless, mindless company like Amazon is in front of this.

Unexpected events can happen in a moment while driving, events that require thinking and emotion. Fear is sometimes a good (or bad) motivator in making choices on the road. The law can also be mindless and emotionless how it treats drivers. If the computer code is acting within the prescribed laws, and they can have them set to take effect the moment they cross state or county lines, good luck on having Amazon share any of the data with you. Especially when they know they are at fault.

Can cops ticket them? If not how much revenue will be lost? If the loss is significant they will be looking to make up for it through other means.

If the rate autonomous trucks get into at fault accidents declines greatly, will the rate of their insurance also go down? Who will pay the insurance companies lost revenue?

I am sure the computer code is written to recognize shapes and objects, a human shape being one, or a baby stroller. So a bad guy or gal could toss a mannequin in front of the truck forcing it to stop. At the minimum it would take several minutes for the mannequin to be cleared. How much can be stolen or damage done during those few minutes?

To feed into WiFi's twisted post above :p

What happens in that scenario if several other autonomous trucks are stopped and disabled at once?
Tickerguy
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@Mangymutt --
Quote:
Unexpected events can happen in a moment while driving, events that require thinking and emotion.

Yep.

Coming home from my last excursion in heavy rain the truck in front of me ran over something that I believe was a table ("folding-leg" variety) that someone in front of HIM dumped on the road.

HE elected to run it over straight and square with NO deviation to warn anyone behind him that "something was about to happen" a half-second or so later (60mph = 88ft/sec, so if the truck dodges something you get roughly a half-second of warning that something is coming because the truck makes an unexpected move.)

It was ejected at the right side of my vehicle at a decent velocity from the rear tires of his trailer which was my first knowledge of its presence; there was a vehicle to my left.

I had two choices -- hit it and hope I had enough clearance to run over it without incident on the right side or risk hitting the car on my left, or worse, lose control on the wet surface, potentially causing a chain-reaction pile-up attempting to dodge it.

I elected, in the split-second available to make a decision, to run over it.

I didn't think it did damage at the time (nothing obvious) but on later inspection found it shoved my low-mounted foglight in the bumper cover back and scratched up the bumper cover pretty good on the far right lower side. Not worth reporting or having fixed as I was able to get enough access and the mounting points for the fog were not broken, nor was the assembly, so I was able to remove and re-mount it properly.

How does the autonomous truck deal with this? Same way, basically, I suspect, except that it has more knowledge of exactly what the limits of handling are than I do as a human, and thus MIGHT elect to dodge where I would not in traffic with compromised traction. On dry pavement I ABSOLUTELY would have attempted to go around it, having much more confidence in my ability to PRECISELY control exactly how much deviation my vehicle would accept without breaking free. Ditto if there had been no vehicle to my left that a small miscalculation would lead me to hit.

The AV probably has more knowledge of the physical limits of traction than the human as applied to the control inputs in a given set of conditions; that is, it can more-accurately dodge to exactly "X" degree without breaking free than the human can, simply because its actuation of the controls is more-precise than muscles are. HOWEVER, its decision is cold and emotion-less, and cannot react to ridiculous uncertainty. For example the odds of a baby carriage actually having a baby in it at 70mph on the highway in busy traffic at night are indistinguishable from zero; it is nearly-certain said carriage was lost from the back of a pickup in front, for example, and is NOT from an actual errant carriage with a baby inside. Does it try to dodge or stop OR DOES IT RUN IT OVER? Good question. The same situation IN TOWN is an entirely different proposition.

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Winding it down.

Quik49
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wa9 beat me to it....last week I-15 was a **** show...a foot of slush in the far right lanes, mayhem everywhere... Big rigs piled up... getting cut off by idiots in two wheel drive cars....It was sensory overload for anyone or anything....I have a pic, but too big to upload on phone.

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Long Vaseline....

Mangymutt
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Vancouver WA
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Ktrosper -
Quote:
Maybe their safety record will be 10x human safety.


On paper it will be. Many laws are stupid and need to be interpreted on the fly, kind of in the way Vernonb is expressing.

Amazon is a billion dollar company, solely because they are willing to lose billions of dollars. I do not think too hard on that, as it hurts my head. They will spend ridiculous amounts of money they do not have to make sure their "Safety Record" is ridiculously good. They will get the equivalent to a red light camera once every six months or so, just to prove to the rest of us they are still human.

This is bigger than just Amazon.

It has been proven Amazon is willing to take losses to gain customers.....You know the old we will make up for it in volume trick they became "successful" on. A small delivery needs to go from CA to Vermont. No problem says Amazon, we can get it there in Xday's for Xprice, we have the distribution centers already set up.

Bye-Bye Goes the small to midsize trucking firms. Amazon will do it quicker and cheaper, Bye-bye goes the larger trucking firms as they do not have the capital to expand into Amazons newly established territory.

Oh that load that they just picked up from CA going to Vermont, they know everything about it now too. If it is a mom & pop how long will they be allowed to stay in business.

But it is all good, cuz Amazon WILL have a spectacular safety record that adheres to ALL county and state laws, no matter how stupid.
Mangymutt
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Quote:
Coming home from my last excursion in heavy rain the truck in front of me ran over something


I am glad it was only your car that was damaged and only a fog light at that.

Quote:
so if the truck dodges something you get roughly a half-second of warning that something is coming because the truck makes an unexpected move.


Something they do not teach in drivers ed, but invaluable. People should be aware of this technique and use it instead of going straight for the horn.
Chaparral
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Los Angeles
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Do autonomous trucks pack heat? I could see an organized gang attacking twenty of them simultaneously to spread the responders too thin.

Great target point for 4GW.
Tickerguy
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@Mangymutt -- Yep. If someone in front of you does something unexpected something bad is about to happen and (assuming you're not right up his *******) you have warning of it BEFORE your reaction time window gets invaded. It's saved my ass a few times over the years.

The other thing they don't teach but should (I DID teach my kid this) is that IF you decide to brake hard AT THE SAME TIME you need to quickly glance in the rearview -- if you're going to get HIT FROM THE BACK then a maximum performance stop may NOT be your best move. Yeah it won't be legally your fault if you get nailed by the ******* not paying attention behind you (or following too close) but the goal is not to get hit AT ALL.

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Winding it down.
Tickerguy
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@Chaparral -- Stopping an autonomous vehicle is trivial; unlike a human driver you can reasonably assume it will NOT intentionally run something or someone over if it can stop.

But you can also bet it will immediately call for assistance, so you better be prepared for that to escalate quickly too. Jamming that transmission shouldn't be all that difficult; it requires surprisingly little power to jam a cell signal, for example, because the ERP on the *receiving* end is tiny and all you need to do is overload the receiver's front end and the handshaking that HAS TO take place for the link to stay up fails.

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Winding it down.

Whitehat
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once everyone gets some experience with the idea, there could be lanes marked for the software to identify and cluster the robot trucks there. predictability has its advantages. eventually the major routes could have a form of lock-on where the truck follows beacons in the road or guardrail. the nice thing about this system is that a low-tech investment passenger car or bus (bye bye short route airlines) can join the special lane since all vehicles there play nice. we might still see that certified truckers ride in the vehicle as a sort of security and for unexpected situations, perhaps refueling tasks. fatigue would be over as a normal sleep and eat cycle is possible with most of the grunt work being done.

my vote is that for this to have a chance of working the roadway must have a standardized way of interacting with the vehicle. the margins for success go way up doing it this way and the potential computer inadequacies go down.

as for non-interstate roads and local traffic, no way this works for a very long time if ever.

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