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Feb 13, 2017

Uberizing big trucks * USA: Opinion & Prognosis for the trucking industry

* DC - 18 Wheels have never been so cool or important

--- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates autonomy―that is, the level of human or alternatively computer operation of a vehicle―at five graduated tiers... At Level Zero, the human driver controls everything from steering to throttling. Levels Four and Five, though, are the moonshot: drivers are not required in either instance, and at its zenith neither are conventional human controls... Otto’s beer run, which relegated the driver to the sleeper bunk, clocked in at Level Four, the first in the nation... The freight industry entered 2016 with a deficit of 48,000 truckers, according to industry figures, and the American Trucking Association estimates that this deficit may swell to 175,000 within the space of eight years... Increase in shipping growth coupled with a diminished labor force requires longer routes, especially for owner-operators, and these more rigorous hauls create a whole host of safety concerns for the driving public... According to federal statistics, in excess of 400,000 trucks crashed in 2014 (the most recent year for which that data is available). Human error―failing to recognize a dangerous situation or to respond properly―was to blame in almost every instance... For the commute-weary driver, autonomous technology represents a sexy splurge, an investment in safety and sanity, but for fleet operations, Levels Four and Five autonomy represent the singular business imperative of the 21st century... 
(Photo: World premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck)  -- Washington, DC, USA  - Huffington Post, by Eric Tanenblatt - 10 Feb 2017

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