• Revision ID 39975 REVISION
  • 2018-01-18 00:22:28
  • by Charles Turner (talk | contribs)
  • Note: from newsstub, focus on trucking
Title Title
Uber_OTTO_at_their_SF_headquarters Truckers will be the first casualty of self-driving technology
Summary Summary
  There are 1.7 million truckers in the U.S, those who drive on highways are at risk of losing their job to a robot
Highlights Highlights
  "Exit-to-exit" autonomous trucking is as close as three years away , The most workplace deaths in 2016 came in the trucking industry
Content Content
  <strong><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volvocars-uber/volvo-cars-to-supply-uber-with-up-to-24000-self-driving-cars-idUSKBN1DK1NH">Uber agreed to purchase </a>24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo once the technology is ready for public roads. Several other car manufacturers have <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-ces-delivery/ford-taps-postmates-for-edge-in-self-driving-delivery-race-idUSKBN1EY20X">forged similar agreements</a> with ride-hailing services. But prospect of an Uber without a human behind the wheel is likely decades away. </strong>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Chris Urman, head of the Google self-driving project, </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&amp;v=Uj-rK8V-rik"><span style="font-weight: 400;">estimated in 2016 another 30 years</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> before human drivers were unnecessary.<i> </i>Jeremy Gelbart, CEO of a tech company focused on transport, said another 50 years was needed in order to meet <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/you-may-not-live-long-enough-ride-driverless-car-575305">public safety requirements</a>. (<em>Newsweek</em>). </span>But these far out predictions mainly apply to urban environments.
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">While city streets are too complex for autonomous technology, rural highways are predictable enough for fully self-driving cars to replicate in the near future. So while taxi services will need a human driver for some time, long-haul trucking jobs are at far greater risk of being automated.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Steve Viscelli, sociologist of the University of Pennsylvania, studies how trucking will change under self-driving technology. He says that autonomous trucks is best suited for what is known as "exit-to-exit" driving. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“On interstates, and probably on routes that aren’t snowy... any areas that we can identify as less complicated, or modified to be less complicated, this is where the technology will be adopted first.” Steve Viscelli told WikiTribune. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Viscelli says that exit-to-exit self-driving trucking is as close as three years away. In fact, it's already being tested on open roads in the American Southwest. </span><a href="https://www.wired.com/story/embark-self-driving-truck-deliveries/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wired reported</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on a fleet of autonomous trucks that hauls refrigerators between Texas and California. </span>
  Human drivers will still be needed once the autonomous truck reaches the exit. Similar to Uber drivers, self-driving cars are still likely<span style="font-weight: 400;"> decades away from being able to navigate. </span>
English: Uber OTTO autonomous driving truck <h2><b>Benefits of self-driving trucks</b></h2>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Demand is high for all self-driving vehicles, but particularly for large-rig trucks, and the base of supporters is diverse. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Economists point to the how much the U.S. economy relies on trucks, and how they suffer with the aspect of human error. </span><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/america-faces-shortage-truck-drivers/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">70 percent of all goods</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the U.S. rely on human truckers for delivery (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">CBS News</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">). The long and inconvenient hours of the job has led to notoriously high turnover rates and a current labor shortage of </span><a href="http://www.trucking.org/article/New%20Report%20Says-National-Shortage-of-Truck-Drivers-to-Reach-50,000-This-Year"><span style="font-weight: 400;">50,000 long-haul truckers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, according to the American Trucking Association. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Public safety advocates point to how public safety problems behind human truck driving. There were </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2661438/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">5,000 road fatalities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> caused by large trucks every year in the U.S, according to the American Public Health Association.</span>
  The <a href="https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0015.pdf">most workplace deaths</a> in 2016 came in the trucking industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 88 percent of which were caused by human error.
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of these accidents stemmed from a sleep-deprived driver. The Fe</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">deral government <a href="https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/new-hours-service-safety-regulations-reduce-truck-driver-fatigue-begin-today">passed rules in 2013</a> t</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">hat mandated time for drivers to sleep. However, a fatality </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-crash/driver-fatigue-meth-to-blame-in-deadly-2015-tennessee-crash-safety-panel-idUSKCN124271"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in 2016 caused by a trucker on methamphetamines</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">in order to combat fatigue is just an example of how the problem still exists. Reducing these collisions will could also reduce traffic. </span>
  <h2><b>Threat to labor</b></h2>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Labor unions have become a reliable lobby against the self-driving cars. The Teamsters Union, who represent over 600,000 professional drivers, many of whom are truckers, have led the charge. Their focus is on opposing </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-selfdriving-vehicles/union-cheers-as-trucks-kept-out-of-u-s-self-driving-legislation-idUSKBN1AD2S3"><span style="font-weight: 400;">legislation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that fast-tracks the technology on public roads.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ve been very blunt about our position, we believe there is a role for drivers…. And we don’t want to see an overnight throwing away of rules on the road that have been made over years, Kara Deniz told </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">WikiTribune</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, spokesperson for the Teamsters Union.</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates </span><a href="https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm"><span style="font-weight: 400;">1.7 million people in the U.S drive a truck</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for a living, who earn an average income of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/24/news/economy/trucking-jobs/index.htm">$37,930 a year</a> (<em>CNN</em>). While working conditions for truckers have declined over the years, their salary is $4000 more than the national median, making it likely that they wold take a pay cut if lost their job to a self-driving truck. </span>
  <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-selfdriving/trucking-group-disappointed-self-driving-bill-leaves-out-big-vehicles-idUSKCN1C338F"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reuters reported</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that the Teamsters played a key role in getting large-rig trucks excluded from the </span><a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1885"><span style="font-weight: 400;">first federal law</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> over self-driving cars in 2017. The omission of the vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds </span><a href="https://www.recode.net/2017/10/4/16420420/senate-self-driving-bill-av-start"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ultimately prevented the bill from being passed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Recode</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Without federal rules, state government have been left to regulate self-driving cars, including trucks. Five states have already passed laws that regulate self-driving cars, according to </span><a href="https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/wiki/index.php/Automated_Driving:_Legislative_and_Regulatory_Action#State_Bills"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stanford University</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. California has led the way by tripling the number of autonomous vehicles on public roads, </span><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/4377b4c0-0479-11e7-aa5b-6bb07f5c8e12"><span style="font-weight: 400;">from 33 to 103</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, between 2016 and 2017. (</span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Financial Times</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">With more than <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/gauging-investment-in-self-driving-cars/">$80 billion</a> invested in self-driving technology, according to the Brookings Institute, there is simply too much financial incentive to remove the human driver from the equation as soon as possible. </span>
  <span style="font-weight: 400;">“I just don’t see a scenario where this human- truck partnership makes economic sense, you’re still going to have a human with hours that limit the value of the truck.” says Viscelli. </span>
  <h2>How to deal with automation</h2>
  Self-driving cars effect on labor brings up the broader conversation around automation, and the social ill of massive worker displacement. This is particularly true for an unskilled workforce like professional drivers. The challenge is in finding new jobs for those who hurt by automated technology.
  Jason Hong, computer scientist from Carnegie Mellon University, says the long-term focus must be investing in jobs that are immune to automation, which he describes as anything involving creative problem solving. The key will be identifying human-only jobs that do not require a high level of education. Hong uses the example of a plumber.
  "Every plumbing problem is slightly different and requires problem solving skills to figure out the root cause, making it harder to fully automate," Hong told <em>WikiTribune</em>.
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  Technology, United States, Technology
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