Talk for Article "Truckers will be first casualty of self-driving technology"

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  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    And the accident statistics are interesting. I wonder whether there is a breakdown of where and under what conditions the trucking accidents tend to occur – i.e., do we know whether those accidents and fatalities are occurring on the open highways or in the more congested cities or in off-highway rural areas? The answer to this question may suggest how to focus forthcoming research.

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      That’s a good question. I know lack of sleep/lack of focus is the main cause of trucking accidents. But not sure how road conditions and time of day factor in. If you know of a good source, I’d love to take a look!

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    This opening statement assumes an ability to see farther into the future than is really possible:
    “While ride-sharing apps are investing in self-driving cars, your Uber will likely have a human behind the wheel for decades to come. ”
    I do recognize that it includes the word “likely” but I think it’s still too strong. Innovation is non-linear and great strides are being made in AI research. It’s impossible to predict breakthroughs (or the lack thereof) beyond five years in the future.

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      Hi David,

      That statement is based off the interviews in this story. Experts that spoke with WikiTribune all said that urban roadways are 30-50 years away from seeing fully self-driving cars. If you dispute this projection, I encourage you to find evidence supporting your skepticism. If you want to interview a relevant expert, I can help you get in touch with him or her.

      Best,
      Charlie

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        A McKinsey report published last year concluded:
        “While current assessments indicate that the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles is probably over a decade away, the industry could compress that time frame in several ways.”

        https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/self-driving-car-technology-when-will-the-robots-hit-the-road

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          Hi David,

          I forgot to tell you that I updated the lede with the McKinsey projection that you provided. The report didn’t distinguish between urban and rural but it’s still good to collect different sources.

          I hesitate to say earlier than a decade considering that laws would have to be passed quickly for this to happen as well. Though you can edit as you see fit.

          1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

            Thanks for the update, Charlie. And, your point on laws is well-taken. Social & economic issues are likely to be at least as difficult to solve as the the technical ones.

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    The conversation around self driving vehicles is not complete to me unless we clearly state whether a “human driver” will be in the vehicle at the time it is autonomous. The demand for drivers is extreme at this time and we are telling individuals that may want to drive that they should not because there will be no job when they look forward a few years. In fact there will be jobs for truck drivers in driving big rigs and also in other positions that develop around the driving requirements. There will still be a need for many drivers for a very long time and probably for most peoples lifetime while the system evolves. This is a good subject but not one that the sociologist has fully reported upon.

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      Yes, totally agree. And human is more innovative solving unforeseen problems that occurs than predefined algorithms.

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      Hi John,

      The transitional period between self-driving car and a truly driverless vehicle is a an aspect that is missing from this story. I would like to include more context on this topic.

      Could you help me provide another voice? One that argues that a tandem relationship of human/computer will be needed for decades to come? I’ve found plenty of literature concerning city-driving, but less for rural settings. If you know a good source, I’d like to contact them and hopefully we can round out this story together.

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    Self driving vehicles will be a thrill until the first truck is hijacked and emptied.

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      No one is saying they are driverless. They are self driving. Until the time when road networks are completely serviceable by autonomous vehicles; humans are going to remain in the driver’s seat for some time to come.

      That aside, not much is keeping anyone from hijacking a truck right now, anyways. A human driver isn’t necessarily doing a better job of protecting their cargo than say a “theoretical GPS device that calls home/the police when a truck is off route”.

      Even then, it’s a moot point, when you consider the likelihood of an autonomous truck’s cargo being insured, tracked, and recorded remotely.

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        So how is the driver the first casualty in this process? All the extra surveillance system you refer to is a costly burden. If the truck company shall pay, we as customers have to pay. If the community is the one to pay for the extra infrastructure, we have to pay.

        Today brute force is necessary to hijack a truck. Without a driver you just hack the vehicle an drive it to a site. Jamming signals…?

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          > So how is the driver the first casualty in this process?

          I, specifically, never claimed that. The article has.

          > All the extra surveillance system you refer to is a costly burden.

          It already exists, in the form of “Tatlers”. It has for years. As long as there has been shipping, shipping companies have wanted to “keep tabs” on their couriers.

          The difference is software, and sensors. As self driving systems roll out, this will be included in purchase, with additional “Software as Service” platforms for reporting, of which most shipping companies are already acquainted.

          >Today brute force is necessary to hijack a truck.

          I would say a single driver is less of an impediment to hijacking than the years of software engineering required to undermine a hardened computer system.

          Regardless of “hijacking”, this is why most shipping will, and already is, insured. With high enough volume, the insurance cost will be negligible, even if passed on to the consumer. If that makes the roads safer, all the better.

          It’s the future, and it’s already started to happen. Sorry, truckers.

        2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          Stig and Cameron,

          You’re right that a human driver will be needed in fully-autonomous vehicles as a sort of overseer, but this will quickly become a purely precautionary measure.

          Let’s not forget that the $80 billion+ invested into this technology is focused on removing the human driver. And as Professor Viscelli said, its not profitable for these trucking companies to pay for automative tech AND the salary of a driver. So whether three years is overly ambitious or not, there are massive market forces geared on pushing out long-haul truckers.

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            $80 billion is a huge investment and sunk cost. Once the solution is there the companies must port everything they have into the system…no matter what. The question is if the truckers salary per ton/km is so big that removing the trucker will give positive ROI or will transportation fees increase. Good old Kaldor-Hicks there

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      Hi Stig- You bring up an interesting point about theft in an automated world. The idea being that automated trucks will be easier to rob because you won’t have to worry about hurting or traumatizing a human. It’s a discussion with a moral component. I’d be interested in doing a story on this concept. Do you know any good resources on this?

      And please, take as much ownership of this story as you can handle. Ideally, I’d like this to be your story.

      Charlie

      1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

        Hi Charlie
        There are moral values in motion in every situation. During ww2 the POW without a caps had a bigger chance to survive a lineup then those with a caps. The soldiers recognized the bare headed POW as one of their group and less as enemy.
        I shall consult Kant on this and come back to you. Ok?

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          Hi Stig,
          All contributions and insights are welcome, even high-level ones. But also, if you know any resources on the relationship between humans and machines, I think that could inform a valuable story.

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