How can we see articles like this one almost daily, yet choose to pretend that the possibilities don’t exist?
NO, I’m not pro automation, but I’ve been observing its progress for many years, even before I got a CDL. The developers (with the investments of billion dollar corporations who stand to benefit) are working feverishly to advance this technology, and they are progressing quickly. Automation has gone from concept, to development, to full testing in less than 10 years.
How can we see these trucks being tested without active drivers, and delivering loads, and say or think that this won’t become a mainstream reality during our trucking lifetime?
Being the realist that I am, I personally would rather acknowledge that progress and prepare for their eventual end game, while I have a few years to comfortably do so, than to turn my head & ignore something that could cost me my livelihood & leave me scrambling to find ways to secure my financial future.
The billion dollar companies that are moving automation forward are not wasting their time & money on something that will fail.
*Nobody is creating (or even trying to create) a truck that can fuel itself, back into docks, open doors, take paperwork inside, or anything else – other than DRIVE. Humans could still perform those secondary functions. Those humans do not have to be the drivers of the trucks.
*We are being made to believe that our jobs will remain secure as automation advances. Trucks will always need drivers. That’s what ALL companies do when replacing employees. They need us now, to keep the industry stable while they work behind the scenes to replace us. The information that we are seeing only scratches the surface of what is happening daily to advance automation. Ask yourself, if your position goes from the role of active driver to passive “just-in-case” passenger, would your value remain the same? I think not. That’s not a job that I would want.
*Accidents with fatalities will not stop happening. Human drivers kill people in trucks daily. Automation is being cited as a solution that will greatly reduce accidents, by eliminating the top 2 reasons for fatal accidents – driver fatigue & driver distraction. If accidents involving semi’s are cut in half overall by automation, then a few fatalities involving automated trucks will simply be treated as the casualties that they currently are.
*The intent of the first phase of automation is to remove the driver from long stretches of controlled highway driving. That application is ALREADY BEING TESTED DAILY. If that were the ONLY accomplishment of automation, that ALONE would yield severe consequences for the livelihood of truckers. Ask yourself, if trucking eliminated long hauls for active drivers, and became limited to only short hauls & local runs (that EVERYONE would compete for), could you survive that shift?
This is not a time to panic, nor is it a time to ignore the possibilities, in exchange for a sense of security. My ONLY message is to implore you to do what is necessary to secure your own financial future. Many of us have built businesses in trucking. Some of us had to struggle to do so. We can do it again in other industries, but this time, we are already at a financial advantage & we have time to plan & create our own destiny.