Last night my wife Liz and I went out to a local restaurant for dinner. We like to sit at the bar as service is often quicker and you can talk to the people next to you.
I struck up a conversation with the person sitting on my right. He (let’s call him SH) has been in the trucking industry for 25 years and will retire in perhaps 3-4 years. SH agrees with me that major changes are coming.
Anonymous Truck Driver Soon to be Gone
Image from Job Descriptions for a Heavy Haul Driver.
SH is a short-haul trucker. By his description of what he does, SH fits the standard definition of long-haul. However, there are no industry-wide hauling definitions.
The above link says “These terms don’t have strict definitions but short-haul trucking often involves driving within a 150-mile radius. Long-haul drivers usually have a driving radius of 250 miles or more.”
SH drives hub-to-hub, never to end destinations. He defines short haul simply as the ability to return home every night. His limiting factor is 11 hours, the maximum amount of continuous driving.
For now, new terms are needed. I propose short haul as local, mid haul as what SH does, and long haul which I define as away from home over 11 hours.
Definitions aside, we got to talking about self-driving vehicles and he believes, as I do, that major disruptions will come sooner than most people expect.
SH’s Job Routine
- SH drives his car to a trucking hub.
- He picks up a loaded truck and drives 4-5 hours in one direction.
- He drops off the load at a designated hub.
- He picks up a load or another truck that someone else dropped off.
- He drives that load back 4-5 hours at his starting hub.
- SH picks up his car and drives home.
Drivers Not Needed
Why is SH needed?
Currently, drivers are required.
The moment drivers are not required, the cost of the driver, the cost of the driver’s benefits, and the mandated down time will all go away.
In addition to the 11-hour limit, there are many additional restrictions as noted by the FMCSA Summary of Hours of Service Regulations.
Particularly limiting is the 60/70-Hour Limit: “Property carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.”
- Current Setup: The cost of the driver and benefits. The cost of maintenance. The cost of fuel. The cost of insurance. The limit of 11 hours of daily driving and a maximum of 60 hours in seven days.
- Self-Driving, Electric: Cost of the electric truck. The cost of the autonomous hardware and software. Lower maintenance costs (electric motors gave far fewer parts). Lower insurance costs.
- Self-Driving, Fuel: The cost of the autonomous hardware and software.
As soon as the benefits of getting rid of the driver exceed the associated costs, change will happen amazingly fast.
I glean from my conversation with SH that the infrastructure hubs for option 3 are already in place. Thus, the limiting factor for option 3 is approval by the department of transportation.
Electric recharging stations may be another matter. I failed to ask about recharging capacity.
Using my definitions, the medium and long haul drivers will all vanish as soon as autonomous vehicles are approved for highway travel.
At the hubs, some additional people may be needed for maintenance, charging, switching loads etc, but the drivers will be gone.
The hub model works even if drivers are needed to make the final dropoff.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Conscience of a Conservative said:
My father was a short haul trucker. The economics of this profession keeps getting worse and worse for those seeking to earn their livelihood from this occupation and the balance of power keeps shifting away from the owner operator.
Macro Investor said:
If you are a youngster starting out, learn to maintain the trucks instead of driving them.
As drivers are phased out, the trucks will be run much harder and longer — perhaps a million miles in under 2 years. That will require lots more maintenance. And there will be new kinds of maintenance with all the sensors and computers involved. There will be software updates and bug fixes, just like with office computers.
If that was true, then manufacturers would warranty repairs up to 1,000,000 miles as that’s where “the rubber meets the road”.
They currently only warranty for up to 500,000 miles. 1,000,000 miles in two years is patent nonsense and fantasy.
Love watching you white collar folks weigh in on something you know nothing about. Maybe I’ll weigh in on how to host a cotillion and the best brie and wine combos so that we’re even.
Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..
Dick in Delaware said:
You know? I was just thinking today about all the musicians who were put out of work by the recording industry. We no longer have to hire a musician if we want to hear music. And we can hear it anywhere – home, car, restaurant, etc. Now I know in the absence of recordings we all would probably listen to a lot less music instead of hiring musicians. And, their service is probably a lot less essential than truck drivers. Still, I wonder if anyone ever calculated what the peak employment time was for musicians.
1915? My grandfather was put into the German Army’s orchestra (playing the trumpet). He didn’t have to fire a single shot in WW I. He joined the Berlin state opera as violinist. Tough times after WW II as he earned “GDR Marks” = 20% but lived in west Berlin.
At a recent “Tolwood” festival in Munich, I experienced the magic of good live music.
Kids learning to play instruments helps their development. And let them play outside, get dirty and learn to m o v e like IDO PORTAL 😉
And piano tuners. At one time every middle class home had a piano. They all needed regular tuning.
Musicians were plentiful in the last half of the 19th century. Every town had a concert band, orchestra, choir, and many people played piano. Not to mention dance bands and folk bands. Many of them were terrible, but not having anything to compare to outside of big towns, people put up with what they could get. Once recordings of “good” performers were mass produced they had to find something else to do.
An interesting side note: The music industry got started by printing sheet music. When records and wax cylinders came along they shifted to the new technology and thrived more than ever since there was no longer any need for skill to hear music. The music industry failed completely to make the shift to network based distribution and today is a fraction of what it once was. They even saw a useful model in ringtone sales that could have been applied to loops and midi files for mashup songs that might have been a pretty good business, but oh well.
Not the music industry so much as the RECORDING industry – whose revenue was tied to controlling the physical production of media – and they screwed over musicians for a living.
When digital media came along (actually they started the hissy fit with CDs), they realized they no longer controlled the physical media that their entire business model was built upon. Sure they had all these other assets, like studios, radio stations, and the like – the the cornerstone was physical media.
They refused to adapt. Remember the threat of lawsuits against kids downloading music? They even bought congress and got their DMCA. They refused to lead in what was obviously going to happen whether they wanted it to or not.
The best example I have ever seen of someone ADAPTING and producing the outcome they wanted is the story of one James Eads – who made his fortune in shipping – and to preserve the economic importance of his home city/state, built a bridge across the Mississippi to ensure the trains chose them over other sites – and thereby guaranteeing the economic activity that would come with an active rail line and established port. To make the story all that sweeter – he innovated many new technologies to do it – as it had never been done before at the time.
Fascinating story if you can find this at your local library or online:
All that said, as a volunteer DJ at my local radio station. When the RECORDING industry controlled the media, they controlled who got sold and how. Today I can stream many different stations from anywhere in the US (free) and spend a fair bit of time developing a music format that features tons of music by folks you probably have never heard of – and all that is possible because of digital music distribution.
I buy everything – usually iTunes – but sometimes media from Amazon. I spend the week coming up with my play list and run my show on Friday nights. Each show usually features at least 50% new music (meaning never played on my show before).
I have over a year of playlists for anyone interested – you will recognize some names, but many you will not – and I play pretty good stuff.
I suppose, as it has always been, the vast majority of musicians make their money performing live. Regions that appreciate live music support the musicians – and cultivate their own regional style/character.
So, if you love music, support it by seeing a live performance.
Sharon Royal said:
RedStuart – Thanks for the link to your playlists.
There is a scene in Goodfellas where they rob a semi. I bet this will become a new high tech gig. Either when the truck is charging or with some software but the truck will be disabled and trailers jacked before the distress signal can get someone there.
Please be serious.
Theft of trucks will drop to zero.
Stuki Moi said:
Don’t be so sure about that. Banks are scared witless of keeping too much cash in ATMs, as if they did, those things would get hit hard. And, by criminal standards, smart as well. The latter on account of a much smarter specie of criminals being willing to heist a bank, if the probability of having to murder some innocent who just happen to work there, were lower.
Working in the other direction, is driver less trucks leaving less room for inside jobs. Which probably weren’t entirely unheard of amongst teamsters drivers getting robbed my The Mob back in the Goodfellas days.
Correct, Mish, theft of trucks will drop to zero, thieves will only steal the contents! Duh.
The moment a door opens unauthorized police will be on the way. There will be no time to unload the truck and get away. At the Hub there will be people watching.
Heck the moment a truck pulls off the road or stops, police will be called.
This is all too trivial. Please think before writing such nonsense.
Tom G. said:
It’s not nonsense at all. It just means that the first step is to disable the truck’s communications links before you open the door. It’ll be nothing more than a variation of what was pulled off recently to steal Jeeps:
GPS signals are trivial to jam/spoof: It could be nothing more sophisticated than feeding the truck false signals that results in it thinking that it’s 30 miles away from where it really is. Police respond to the reported location, but no truck or thieves.
It’ll be quite the arms race between the people trying to secure the trucks and the thieves. They’ll catch the stupid thieves, and write off the costs from the loads lost to the smart ones. Just like the banks do today.
As soon as the trucks stop reporting, or is not where it is supposed to be – police go to where it last was.
This really is not difficult. It will be worked out. The only time it will have a scheduled stop is at a hub. Is there a possibility of theft at the hub by an unscrupulous person changing loads?
Yes, that likely is the biggest risk. All this other stuff about force stopping a truck and unloading the contents is fantasyland material.
Nah, once a significant number of vehicles are driverless, both trucks and taxis, that will just be the umpteenth extremely serious infrastructure attack vector vulnerability for foreign adversaries to exploit. Watch the outstanding documentary “Zero Days” with its compilation of NSA leaks about what we have in store for OUR adversaries. Even freelance hackers are very clever (and they often go on to work for governments once caught):
“Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to access people’s data. Most recently, the way was as simple as a fish tank.
The hackers attempted to acquire data from a North American casino by using an Internet-connected fish tank, according to a report released Thursday by cybersecurity firm Darktrace.
The fish tank had sensors connected to a PC that regulated the temperature, food and cleanliness of the tank.
“Somebody got into the fish tank and used it to move around into other areas (of the network) and sent out data,” said Justin Fier, Darktrace’s director of cyber intelligence.
The casino’s name and the type of data stolen were not disclosed in the report for security reasons, Darktrace said. The report said 10 GB of data were sent out to a device in Finland.
‘This one is the most entertaining and clever thinking by hackers I’ve seen,’ said Hemu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor for computer crimes and current chief executive of SSP Blue, a cybersecurity company.”
Sorry to disagree Mish but I think theft will be incredibly easy. Stop a vehicle in front of and behind truck. Unload truck. Even easier hack vehicle software, disable gps and have the truck drive to your warehouse.
Please be serious.
Police will be at the scene in minutes
There are many areas of this country where it would be difficult or impossible to get police to the scene quickly. For example, I’ve read a number of stories over the past 5 years or so about police cutbacks in rural Oregon that have left some areas with as little as once patrol car per 100 miles, or even with no coverage at all for several hours per day. I’ve found a link to once such story to substantiate my claim;
Maybe they will replace the police with robots, since they can’t get shot and killed. (sarcasm)
the shortsightness of people who think humans can be replaced by machines is mind-numbing. I guess the elites will just print all the money for everyone to purchase, because there won’t be any more workers earning to buy anything.
Amazon has a dream of robot stores and robot delivery systems. Either they will be robbed blind by jobless people, or it was a pipe dream that never was going to happen anyway.
They should just start the printing now I guess.
Ahem – it is not the robots or their owners that need to worry. After several well-publicized news stories about potential robbers of self-driving vehicles splattered to bits by on-board armed robots, robberies will predictably decline. Bad press surrounding the automated massacre can easily be swept aside from company spokesmen, “We are sure that it was just a glitch”. Just like the famous scene in “Robocop”.
j c said:
Automated trains are much easier, intersecting traffic is taken out of the equation and except for some limited airport type shuttles it hasn’t happened.
(But it’s hard to find an elevator operator.)
Stuki Moi said:
+ a lot….
“Gotta keep ’em separated”, is the key for all successful integration of autonomous heavy machinery, and humans. Machines are pretty good at coexisting with other machines. And humans have evolved to be at least half decent at coexisting with other humans. But neither one, is very good at coexisting with the other.
Stuki Moi, you’ve put your finger on it.
Until now, computers have needed very tightly controlled environments. We’re moving in to a world where that is no longer true. It’s unfamiliar territory and the first instances are necessarily low hanging fruit, so change can be fast and dramatic.
I call these new, often mobile machines “free range computers” instead of “robots” to keep my thinking aware of your point exactly.
Stuki Moi said:
We’ve been “moving into” such a world since the mid 50s. And will still be, once we reach the mid 50s again…..
Yup, that is what is happening in Aussie mines – either fully remotely controlled (not autonomous yet), or fully human operated, not mixed. Personal experience, I worked in mining IT with a well-known US systems integrator, designing automated mining systems here in Australia.
PTC(positive train control) is just now starting to become common on the railroad. The trains already are running themselves, but there are glitches. After a few years those will be worked out and the crews will be gone. It didn’t hit me how serious this was until I saw the PTC cutout on one of the engines and in it there was the horn control too. The railroads are trying to do whatever they can to eliminate as many people as possible.
Rob Thompson said:
If I am not mistaken, the industry employs nearly 7 million people. Even losing 2 of those millions is going to be economically…challenging.
Mish, you imply that the electricity is free–which is anything but the truth. If you consult the EPA’s site, you will find that an equivalent amount of electric energy costs much more than gasoline.
I don’t imply anything.
In fact, I suggest the opposite of what you said I implied.
I said self-dring fuel could happen now and recharging may be another matter.
That and battery production and usable power capacity. THAT will be the big problem. Then the recharging. I do agree that the recharging stations will be the weak link as far as theft is concerned. I do feel the whole “self driving” vehicle thing is further out that seems to be thought. Weather and poor driving habits of some drivers will cause the inevitable accident and I am sure lawyers are already salivating over the award amounts.
IF, and that is a big IF, someone can figure out a useable priced battery that can be made of non-rare earth elements and has both a quick charge and high capacity, this pipe dream is not going to happen. I was excited about all this until I applied common sense. Just like overblown solar and wind power, I will never believe it possible until I see a workable cost effective system better than what we have.
at the rate every one is building battery factories there will be massive overcapacity
“Thus, the limiting factor for option 3 is approval by the department of transportation….Using my definitions, the medium and long haul drivers will all vanish as soon as autonomous vehicles are approved for highway travel.”
Well that is a little bit more relaxed than fixing a date, but even then, unless approval standards are extremely strict, and the self driving technology is up to scratch and employable, there will still be a lead in of public acceptance, and presumably trial cases, that is to say the department of transportation may be proven wrong.
Labor cost eliminated, hip…hip hooray…..500years of progress come to fruition! Next step???
Eliminate useless humans, I guess.
in the business i’m in there are usually four to five pickups and as many two thousand miles away at destination…the insurance will be unbelievable…many of the pickups have 4 – 10 different items… what about refrigeration…what about freezing weather..what about rejected loads…the driver is probably the cheapest cost of the current transportation process…bricks
BillyBob Texas said:
Are we really gonna’ see driverless semi’s coming down the Interstate freeway, and then turning off and driving thru our city streets during rushhour?? Sounds neat…but really?
Are we gonna’ see pilot-less airplanes? Any difference? LOTS, LOTS more people killed on highways than plane crashes……are YOU gonna’ get on a pilotless airplane? Really?
Sounds good – but we’ll see. Where you WON’T see me…on a pilotless airplane…..
The Real John Smith said:
By the year 2000 we will go to work in flying cars and household robots will do all the chores and cook dinner.
Say, one out of two ain’t bad for predictions in the multi-decade range. And, by the mid ’60’s it was clear that cars were never gonna fly. (Disclaimer: I learned to fly across the slough from the main flying car maker of the time.)
Everybody has an opinion. Truckers included.
Autonomous vehicles are associated with a myriad of complex problems that have to be solved prior to any serious roll out.
3-4 years is pure fantasy.
I’d be shocked to see any major cities equipped to handle large scale AV traffic in 25 years.
It won’t happen in my lifetime.
Yup, oldtimer. I pointed out a couple of years ago how much IT stuff it would take on a mining truck to replace the smarts of an average truck driver in figuring out what to when a simple fault occurred, say low oil pressure or overheated brakes. The schematics of the major vendors’ control systems didn’t even consider the situation. Maybe things have improved since I retired.
Muriel Glass said:
My daughter is an actuary. She chose not to work in auto insurance because she says once there are driverless vehicles there won’t be auto insurance. The car companies will carry all the liability. I am guessing it may be the same for driverless trucks?
After the first claim against the car/truck maker is filed, insurance will be right back. The trouble is, it will probably be quite costly as there is no performance record to base risk on.
GREAT post Mish. I love ones in this style. Reminds me of the one regarding your conversation with a banker friend of yours. PS Have you bought any bitcoin yet?
I have not personally purchased Bitcoin
I have .10 donated to me in a wallet
July 28, 2017 / 4:05 PM
Union cheers as trucks kept out of U.S. self-driving legislation
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Teamsters union on Friday praised House lawmakers for keeping self-driving commercial trucks out of a proposed bill aimed at speeding deployment of the advanced technology for cars.
The U.S. House Energy and Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would hasten the use of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles. The measure only applies to vehicles under 10,000 pounds and not large commercial trucks.
The 1.4-million-member union, hoping to protect the jobs of truck drivers, has been lobbying at the federal and state levels to slow legislation to make it easier for companies to roll out self-driving trucks.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has said she is “very concerned” about the impact of self-driving cars on U.S. jobs, a big part of President Donald Trump’s campaign message.
These hacks can pass legislation that precludes states from blocking AV’s – but they can’t do jack from stopping states and cities from giving illegal aliens, some of whom are felons, safe harbor under declaration of official sanctuary status!
What a &$^%-up nation we’ve turned into.
File this one under “Unions are their own worst enemies.”
States barring large AVs would, at most, create a cottage industry for small AVs in convoys.
But it won’t get that far. Traffic laws went national and utilitarian some time ago. States are like a 50 small banks broken out of one bank too big to fail: Clones.
Apropos to nothing, my spam stream has lately been filled with ads for truck driver jobs!
As for electric engines, I still believe that hydrogen fuel cells will supplant electric. Here’s a new article that could speed the technology to the masses.
3 August 2017
Nano aluminum offers fuel cells on demand – just add water
By David Hambling
The accidental discovery of a novel aluminum alloy that reacts with water in a highly unusual way may be the first step to reviving the struggling hydrogen economy. It could offer a convenient and portable source of hydrogen for fuel cells and other applications, potentially transforming the energy market and providing an alternative to batteries and liquid fuels.
“The important aspect of the approach is that it lets you make very compact systems,” says Anthony Kucernak, who studies fuel cells at Imperial College London and wasn’t involved with the research. “That would be very useful for systems which need to be very light or operate for long periods on hydrogen, where the use of hydrogen stored in a cylinder is prohibitive.”
The discovery came in January, when researchers at the US Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, were working on a new, high-strength alloy, says physicist Anit Giri. When they poured water on it during routine testing, it started bubbling as it gave off hydrogen.
That doesn’t normally happen to aluminum. Usually, when exposed to water, it quickly oxidizes, forming a protective barrier that puts a stop to any further reaction. But this alloy just kept reacting. The team had stumbled across the solution to a decades-old problem.
Hydrogen has long been touted as a clean, green fuel, but it is difficult to store and move around because of its bulk. “The problem with hydrogen is always transportation and pressurization,” says Giri.
Another “instant charge” battery. Drain the spent water/ethanol (or methanol) electrolyte mix and replace with dirt cheap fresh electrolyte. The system would be “nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries”. From Purdue University:
June 1, 2017
‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery could change the future of electric and hybrid automobiles
Current electric cars need convenient locations built for charging ports.
“Designing and building enough of these recharging stations requires massive infrastructure development, which means the energy distribution and storage system is being rebuilt at tremendous cost to accommodate the need for continual local battery recharge,” said Eric Nauman, co-founder of Ifbattery and a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering. “Ifbattery is developing an energy storage system that would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energize spent battery fluids much like refueling their gas tanks.”
The spent battery fluids (electrolyte) could be collected and taken to a solar farm, wind turbine installation or hydroelectric plant for re-charging.
“Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles,” Cushman said. “Users would be able to drop off the spent electrolytes at gas stations, which would then be sent in bulk to solar farms, wind turbine installations or hydroelectric plants for reconstitution or re-charging into the viable electrolyte and reused many times. It is believed that our technology could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.”
If you see “nano” in the article, discount the whole article as hype.
This neglects the safety and the comfort factors. I’d say (guessing) about 50% of the population would quickly adopt similar driverless tech in their vehicles that would undoubtedly be linked to these long and mid-haul trucks. The othet 50% would not feel safe nor comfortable driving next to a two ton slab of steel barreling down the asphalt at 70mph… Do you not think there would be municipalities that might ban the use of these commercial vessels, tax their mileage on the open road, or maybe even ban *drivered* vehicles?
I once worked as a “midhauler” for a crappy corporation that would, if they could, replace their drivers with an auto-matron, in a heart beat. I know that often times addresses are wrong, or reversed, or there is a median blocking a turn where GPS directs you to go… even GPS is fallible. How can we rely on sensors and AI to safely navigate anywhere if the foundational tech these systems are layered on is flawed??
Transportation laws will be at the national level
BillyBob Texas said:
Federal transportation laws? Generally speaking – but what about the “No Trucks Allowed” signs on certain roads and neighborhood streets? Or “No trucks in far left lane”, etc. Hopefully Google or whatever maps would know ALL of these – but I’d suspect there are zillions of municipalities that have their own ‘rules’ that would be VERY hard to keep up with – constantly changing and adding/dropping, etc. It ain’t gonna’ be easy….
Just the opposite. Humans cannot keep track of all the different local traffic codes or react to temporary changes due to road works. Onboard computers can do that however and will be updated in real time such that the autonomous trucks will select the optimum routes to avoid congested roads or roads that are banned to trucks.
Mike Bravo said:
Wouldn’t rail between hubs make more sense?
Firstname Lastname said:
Express freight by rail is (was) expensive, and the railroads abandoned the facilities, equipment, and talent for it in the 60’s (about the time they were abandoning the last of their passenger business). That 4-5 hour truck ride would take 4-5 days by rail, with most of that spent not moving less than 5 miles from the origin and destination. JIT-oriented business can’t work on that timeframe and with railroad union rules.
You can see plenty of UPS and Fedex trailers and trailerable-containers on railroad cars, but that’s on 1000+ mile routes with different service level expectations and labor cost structure.
rail has a 50% market share
For certain items it does, thus intermodal carriers exist.
The problem with intermodal is that the containers can get stuck in rail yards for days, and average mph is roughly 10. And most major cities try to push intermodal rail yards out of existence because they don’t want freight trains stopped on grade crossings.
If you think the restrictions on truck drivers are stringent, you haven’t seen the restrictions on train operators.
Some serious business is starting to come in for FC powered heavy haulage.
The batteries weigh too much and take up too much of the payload available, FC is lighter.
Re-fuel with H2 can also be achieved in 10’s minutes vs hours for a multi-tonne truck battery.
If Hub-Hub there is no need for many refuelling stations.
Korea already working on busses and the Trucks are next.
I talked with a Delta pilot 3 yrs ago and he said planes are already completely flown with computers. pilots are there to make take off and landing “smoother”.
re driverless trucks–will they stop safely during a sudden white out? will they sense the 100 cars in front of them stopped, which they can’t see? will they pull over for sirens?
living in a retirement mecca, i’m all for driverless vehicles for the aged.
BillyBob Texas said:
beth…….you gonna’ get on one of those pilot-less airplanes….???
Of course they are on ‘autopilot 90% of the time…because autopilot is smoother than a human, 90% of the time. But what about the other 10% ?
I’m retired from that profession – and NOT trying to ‘save jobs’ like some truck drivers on here. But there are many times each flight where an experience human brain needs to make a decision that will affect the passengers’ livelihood. Instantly. Perhaps computers will be able to see that, some day. We’ll see. And unless gazillions of people believe in that….they won’t get on one of those planes….and the airlines won’t buy those planes….
But anything is possible – no one thought a human being could go 40 miles per hours in a new-fangled motorized coach either……
i’m just sharing what the pilot told me. I don’t like to fly and haven’t since 1978. I have survived a high rise hotel fire, and breast and ovarian cancer so I trust my judgment for myself.
I agree for pilots and good drivers to operate vehicles. I don’t think that a computer could do what sully did.
all 4 of my grandparents were born before planes and autos.
and my father was a navy pilot during ww2, so lots of flying bedtime stories.
It's all fake said:
To get an interesting view of what autonomous trucking might look like, in the movie “Logan” there is a scene where Logan is on a 4 lane highway and driver-less trucks are seen going by him or passing him at times. Was very interesting to see just “trailers” and no tractors pulling them. It was a vision of the people who made the movie as too how driver-less trucks could look like.
There were two trucking regulations introduced by the Obama administration that started to accelerate the R&D of automated trucking.
The first was the 5.5 hour rule. This one specifies that a driver is not only limited to 11 hours of driving per day, but that only 5.5 hours of consecutive driving are allowed before a mandatory 30 minute break must be taken. For all intents and purposes, the requires a truck drive to start planning where to pull over after about 4.5 hours of driving.
The second was electronic log keeping (aka Big Brother). No longer could a driver extend his driving by ten minutes to reach his destination by writing a slightly fudged start time in his log book. This is true even for mom-and-pop operations. So if the driver is ten miles from his destination and his 11 hours of driving are up, he must stop and spend an overnight rest period with his truck. Prior to this rule drivers would just continue on and adjust the times in his written log.
In essence the smaller (read: non-union) trucking companies have reduced the lengths of their round trips to account for these regulations. Essentially it was Obama’s gift for teamster’s support.
I’m flying small UAVs (drones). Though I’m still in training, not ready to start doing commercial work, I hope to use them to start a new career in a few years. One thing that I’m seeing is that yes they are starting to have an impact on traditional aerial photography business. But more importantly, they make it possible to incorporate aerial photography into production that could never afford it prior to the development of these systems. This trend will only increase as time goes on. Right now today people are using sUAVs for tower inspections, roof inspections, crop health evaluations and search and rescue operations. These are all tasks that were done occasionally before using manned aircraft but were too expensive to be more than a proof-of-concept (in the case of agriculture) or only to be used by very large corporations, in the case of power line inspection. In most of the inspection cases it is doing away with many of the hazardous activities that don’t really need humans in the sky.
One of the big lobbing efforts going on at the FAA is for permission to fly sUAVs beyond “visual line of sight,” meaning a drone can fly past the point where the pilot can no longer see the drone without a visual aid. This is going to be a complicated rule, because in most cases the controller uses radio frequencies that are range limited and blocked by objects like trees and even rain. So either a different radio control system will need to be implemented or a drone will need to follow a pre-programmed route and be able to avoid obstacles and manned aircraft. So far I don’t know of any waivers granted by the FAA other than military uses. But once it happens look out! All the TV station traffic cams, sporting event blimps and police helicopters will be unmanned. But we’ll also see even more uses for them, things that none of us have even considered. There’s an Israeli company developing a defibrillator-in-a-drone that could be placed in strategic locations and deployed in seconds. Drones could just fly power line corridors all the time, stopping only to refuel, instead of the semi-annual inspections done today (and leading to a much more reliable power grid since problems will be spotted before they became a problem).
I think the same thing will happen with self-driving trucks. Instead of looking at the use models of today, why not look at potential for uses that aren’t cost effective today but could be if you eliminate humans. First thing is that you lose a whole lot of weight on the vehicle by eliminating human requirements like dashboards, seats, air conditioning, human sized controls, cabs, doors, glass, etc. You pick up aerodynamic gains too by eliminating windshields. Trucks could travel on less used roads and save the Interstates for human travelers since they will be able to move 24/7 instead of the above mentioned hours of travel and won’t get frustrated by slower drivers. Or maybe they all stay in a designated lane and leave the others for us. Moving packages between trucks might be a simple task, perhaps by using trailers designed for automation instead of human loading and unloading. Maybe build a truck that is 1/2 the width of today’s vehicles and allow them to ride side by side 2X2 in the same lane. It could unload at the depot from the side so only one pallet wide would speed that along too. Or run the tractors in a gang-together fashion like railroads do with engines. The truck could pick up another power plant for the trip up the pass and drop it off at the top.
Maybe the local grocer could buy a few delivery vehicles to send you fresh vegetables daily. Less need for refrigeration at your house and less waste. The return of the “milkman.” Schwan’s becomes affordable (and edible) as they get competition. Maybe that same grocer hires a chef to plan meals based on ingredients at the store and you get the ingredients along with a meal plan and recipe. You pay a subscription for the meals not per-item. Some might adopt a prepared model, like Dominos (but edible), with the cost of entry a fraction of the currently delivery model, and far less than the location based restaurant model.
Any time you see this level of deflation some very interesting possibilities are open to try. Who would have thought that having an underpowered computer on your desk would have been revolutionary in the 1970s? Why would anyone outside of a mathematician ever want Visicalc? Why would anyone who’s not a programmer ever need to write a custom computer program? What use could anyone have for a personal database?
Dagny Gromer said:
Autonomous self driving heavy trucks will be banned once terrorist hackers figure out how to take control of them and turn them into weapons. Not one or two, but large swarms of heavy vehicles working together to cause mass casualties.
be very afraid chicken little for the sky is falling
Please tell me the type of battery technology with the required energy density to actually make short, medium, or long haul trucks even remotely close in capability to current diesel, propane, or gasoline powered trucks.
Self driving trucks are a possibility. Electric trucks? Not a chance until the batter technology actually delivers on its promises. Current Tesla battery requires 19 kg of cobalt. There isn’t enough yearly cobalt production in the world to make even 10 million batteries for Teslas, much less heavy haul trucks.
Until they find a new cathode type, the electrons to drive the motors have to come from somewhere. Self-driving vehicles, maybe. Electric heavy haul trucks, fat chance, even leaving out the recharging station problem and the recharge time problem.
It seems possible
As I said it comes down to the cost of maintenance vs battery and charging time.
Too many companies are involved for this not to work. But yes, roll out much slower than other self-driving
Macro Investor said:
Right now you go to a gas station and you are out in under 5 minutes. But what if everyone had an electric and it took 6 hours to “fill up”? If there were a few people waiting ahead of you, you could wait 24 hours for an available “pump”.
The wide adoption of electric is going to require 100x the number of charging stations, as compared to gas pumps. Essentially every piece of real estate and every parking space will have to be plugable. That is a huge amount of infrastructure and the re-wiring of cites will cost trillions. Will society even want that much space devoted to auto infrastructure?
At 10 percent adoption, people are going to realize finding a charger without a long line is a real problem. Unless you can plan every trip to end up at home. How many people plan their lives that well?
Will widespread electric happen? Yes, someday. But not within 20 years.
This depends on the meaning of widespread adoption. Let’s call it 20% minimum. In that case 5-7 years easy.
Autononymous Trucking adoption on highways will be 75% within 2 years of allowance, by some means fuel or electric.
Mike Bravo said:
One EMP attack and nobody and nothing moves.
John k said:
Autos displaced horses and a multitude of jobs while creating new ones.
Mfg jobs will disappear as service jobs expand… bill gates has a hundred aides, wouldn’t you like to have one? What holds people back is lack of funds, not lack of desire to consume.
Foreigners decide which currency is reserve when they select which currency to save… few save in yuan or rubles or euro. Saving our dollars drives demand for same, pushing up the dollar and driving our trade deficit… to save dollars they must send us more stuff than we send them.
This all means 600 b dollars drain away every year, people have less to spend.. then combine with monopolies that drain funds upwards…
And now loans that replaced lost spending are crashing.
Imagine playing monopoly… objective is to drive everybody else out of the game… going past go provides income that helps players stay in… if players didn’t want the game to end they could instruct the bank to increase their income…
trump was elected by people driven out of the game… if players are to stay in the game income has to increase whether they are working or not… better to give them something to do such as infra…
And yet we continue to hear about the upcoming trucker shortage. How the average driver is 56 years old and will retire soon. So hurry and sign up form truck driving school!!
Is this the post where you adopt an educated driver’s opinion and claim it as your own Mish?
Previously, you’ve insisted *all* drivers would be irrelevant, including local ones, and you’ve been pretty smug and condescending about it.
Glad to see you’ve come around to reality. Local drivers are going nowhere as there are way to many complications you know nothing about. Now if we can just work on this fantasy you have of electric trucks replacing diesel you’ll be even closer to reality.
For starters, I never claimed “all drivers” would be quickly irrelevant. I repeatedly gave time lines that started with highway trucking. My scenarios going back many years involved an internet hub and a last-mile driver solution. After interstate trucking comes taxis, limos, etc. Drone delivery will eventually be in play. It starts somewhere as I have always said. And it will be faster than you think. I typically delete comments from trolls, but I will post yours.
Wouldn’t read your blog if it wasn’t insightful Mike. Not a troll.
Possible job obsolescence isn’t upsetting, it’s the grand predictive proclamations made with total certitude about an industry those predictors have little to no practical experience with that is frustrating.
That being said, your new take is the correct one. Local hubs, stocked from automated trucks but with local, human delivery maximizes the benefits and minimizes the risks/costs of integrating computer drivers.
Glad you got to talk to a driver and that it was productive. More genuine conversations like that and our society would be much less fragmented and tense.
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