Sunday, April 16, 2017

And so marks the beginning of the end of the truck driver.

Courtesy of Teslarti:  

Elon Musk’s announcement that a Tesla Semi will be arriving as early as September is the first step to what will eventually be a reinvention of an entire industry. We’ve discussed before what, exactly, that means, but given that the man in charge of the Tesla truck program is Jerome Guillen who has a history with Daimler (specifically Freightliner) and large Class 8 semi-trucks, it’s not hard to see where Tesla plans to go with this. That leaves only the question of how far, literally, they plan to take it. In tractor-trailer operations, there are two basic types of freight moving: short-haul and long-haul.

Currently, the trucking industry is seeing a lot of change, internally, as technology improves the way that freight hauling operates. The Internet and faster communications, for example, has begun to erode the traditional consignee-broker-hauler paradigm in which someone with goods to haul contacted a freight broker who then contracted a freight hauler to move the goods, skimming a percentage off the top for the connection. The middleman is often cut out in today’s trucking, with many trucking companies having load brokers on staff.

Electronics and global positioning have also changed how trucks operate, with computers more efficiently organizing load and truck movements to minimize empty movement. The USDOT says that about 29 percent of all truck movement is pulling an empty trailer to or from a freight drop-off point, costing about $30 billion annually. That number, while high, has been dropping for some time and drops exponentially as networks of computers get more efficient at organizing trucking and trucking companies consolidate into larger and larger fleets.

Technology comes to trucking.

Soon the roads will be filled with self driving big rigs with only a token human on board to troubleshoot if something goes awry, but even that job will be short lived as the technology continues to improve.

I believe many of us will live to see the day when trucks transport goods across the country, that are loaded and unloaded by autonomous forklifts, and then distributed to various markets by smaller self driving vehicles.

If the machines themselves became the consumers of the goods, man's usefulness in this enterprise would disappear altogether.

As somebody whose father was a truck driver, and who was forced to listen to truck driving songs like  "Convoy," Eastbound and Down," and "On the Road Again," until my ears bled, I can barely wait.

Just another subset of jobs that Donald Trump can do nothing to save.


  1. Anonymous5:17 AM

    But it will be interesting to watch as the Tumpkins who lose their truckin' jobs will try to figure out who to blame.

  2. Anonymous5:37 AM

    I'm sure there are good decent truck drivers, but most on 95 and 295 and the NJ turnpike by me are dangerous assholes.
    Progress is good.Automated trucks don't push themselves too hard and impair themselves with chemicals.
    Education becomes increasingly important people. Automation will replace many uneducated Americans doing these types of jobs.

  3. Anonymous6:46 AM

    We will all be selling ass rocket weight loss shakes and fancy shit gift boxes to our facebook friends and family and golfing on Orange Anus branded golf courses for fun..


  4. Leland6:55 AM

    My fear about this is the amount of death and destruction that could happen at 70+ MPH. A rider on board to troubleshoot problems won't necessarily react in time to prevent the problem from becoming serious. EVENTUALLY, I can see when the technology advances enough, but in the meantime...?

    I do agree, however that something needs to be done. I just think a complete removal of the long-haul trucking industry should end. And an entirely rebuilt rail system could do that - FAR more energy efficiently.

    1. Anonymous8:50 AM

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    2. Leland9:18 AM

      Excuse me? Did you mean to post that here? If so, where's the connection?

    3. Anonymous9:36 AM

      Lol, Easter drinkin' 8:50.

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  6. Anonymous8:40 AM

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  7. Anonymous9:32 AM

    What happens when a huge pot hole or bump in the road comes up at 70mph? That big rig is going to jump it's lanes (had that happen to me) and take out a few cars in it's attempt to correct back?

    I hate this idea. Plus people need jobs more than big companies need more $$. Too many too tired drivers on the road? Pay them better and make sure regulations are abided by. Progress in this direction isn't always a good thing.

  8. Does anyone else remember The Fully Automated Love Life of Henry Keanridge, the story of how Henry was able to adapt truck- and load-routing software on his employer's computer system to enhance his personal life? It first appeared in Playboy Magazne, and later was the title story in a 1971 Playboy Press collection. A crisis arose when the software decided that truck "Henry" needed to be off the road for several days, for maintenance. How would the "cities" that truck Henry regularly visited react?

  9. Anonymous11:52 AM

    The article makes no mention of replacing drivers as Gryphen has insinuated. Truck drivers are going no-where and truck driving schools are pumping out more truck drivers than ever before. You'd think the son of a truck driver would know that.

    There is automation and efficiency via technology in every industry. The freight and shipping industry has always taken advantage of whatever would move cargo faster, cheaper, more efficiently long before even the combustion engine was invented, and continues to do so.

    This 'article' is about an electric powered semi with all the bells and whistles, and where the industry might find an opening for this type of truck, not about self driving trucks. Truckers will still be driving and hauling 50 years from now.

    1. Yes and those horseless carriages will never catch on, and if God had wanted man to fly he would have given him wings.

      Here stupid, educate yourself

    2. Anonymous2:42 PM

      Hey Griffy, what part of:

      "There is automation and efficiency via technology in every industry. The freight and shipping industry has always taken advantage of whatever would move cargo faster, cheaper, more efficiently long before even the combustion engine was invented, and continues to do so."

      did you not understand?

      Truck drivers are not going to be replaced in either your or your daughters lifetime. If you had grand kids, not in theirs either.

  10. Anonymous1:02 PM

    Buy stock in could this possibly go wrong?

  11. Anonymous1:42 PM

    Redneck Liberal:"Trae Crowder and Dave Rubin:
    The Liberal Redneck, the South, and Comedy"

  12. Truckers need to sleep. They can only drive so many hours a day over so many days. Regulations. I'm sure companies would love nothing better than to have a truck be able to operate 24/7/365.

    There is only one drawback. Truckers will go over the speed limit when they can get away with it. With these computerized trucks, they won't be able to push the legal limits as there will be an electronic trail exposing it.

  13. Randall2:41 AM

    Exactly: automation has "stolen" our jobs - not immigrants.
    Look at photos of automobile assembly lines of even thirty years ago and you'll see many employees, and look at one now: you'll see a line of ROBOTS.
    Computers eliminated many human number-crunchers, bean-counters, etc.
    A CNC lathe can out-produce a manual lathe many times over, thus, eliminating the need for humans to run the manuals.
    On and on...
    those jobs are never coming back.

  14. WA Skeptic8:36 PM

    Without jobs, who's going to be buying all the goods?

    1. Anonymous9:57 PM

      This 'piece' isn't even about jobs, or driverless trucks, it is about HUMAN driven battery pack electric motor driven powered semis (as opposed to diesel), with a relatively short range and a higher cost, and where there might be a fit in the industry for such trucks, still operated by humans.


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