Welp, that was an unfortunate choice of words in the article.
This is truly one of the most brain-dead, appalling technological "innovations" of this century.
These trucks are on the roads for hours at a time, and it seems to be universally accepted that many of these truckers gobble uppers by the handful in order to stay awake during these extended periods.
Imagine if they now become monitors of these so-called autonomous levithans, and they doze off from sheer boredom while this machine rockets along at 75mph. It doesn't take much of a stretch to picture the consequences of a system malfunction while the driver has fallen asleep.
And please spare me the blather about hardware which looks at the driver and sounds an alarm if it notices him starting to lose consciousness. There are people who can sleep through an earthquake, and I hope never to encounter one of these guys while he's piloting a 20-ton Freightliner on the same road I might be driving on. Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California
@rseifer Seems that there would be a failsafe mode, maybe pull over to a dead stop, if the autopilot needs to disengage and the driver didn't respond. The same kind of issue would occur due to a medical emergency where the driver cannot respond - a reasonable and less judgmental scenario. In all this could be a much safer system because it doesn't require the driver to be alert for hours at a time. Less fatigue = more attentiveness when needed.
The amazing network they are speaking of is called freight rail.
Self-driving cars and trucks are a non-starter
The first serious accident involving a privately-owned one will cause an insurance shock the likes of which we've never seen.
If you are hit by one, who's to blame?
The driver will say it was on automatic, and the vehicle manufacturer will say it's the driver's fault.
Can you imagine a company like GM or Toyota suddenly having corporate liability for all accidents involving cars they sell?
The only way this will ever take off is if the passenger has no option of direct control over the vehicle
How about the "radar for lane stability", the "short range" and long range" radar blasting through 360 degrees of human flesh as this moves down the roadway? Does anyone think this is good for us?
Charles S Roscoe
You shall not pass!
Stephen N Russell
wonder how long this will last until Teamsters strike IE later models need Zero drivers?? Love the idea See Solar Crisis, & trucks marked IXL, drone trucks from 1990s movie
oh..good..... now i can have a beer or 2 or 3 since i'm not driving while going down the road
Typically semis (many but not all) are speed limited to 65 MPH which is why you see sometimes see a semi with new tires take a couple of miles to pass one with old tires. Cowboys that go 75 make less money (and get more tickets.) Radar detectors are illegal and tickets are very expensive if you get caught with one. Also radar detectors are detectable. You will probably see more truckers going 60 or less to improve fuel mileage. You just don't pay much attention to them unless you can't get around them.
A fully loaded semi weighs 40 tons. Empty, about 16 tons.
Boredom can be a problem. Staying awake is generally becoming less of a problem. Log book enforcement is getting better so 18 hour shifts are more rare than they used to be "in the good old days".
Equipment failure is always a concern. Even the engine control computer in your car can fail but the occurrence of a driver caused accident is far greater than a computer failure.
Going down the road and staying in the lane is one thing but how well will it react to the nutcase that cuts in front and slams on the brakes to try to teach the driver a lesson? (such as for going around the on-ramp too slow) or many other examples I could list.
This technology is coming on a lot faster than I thought it would. How long has it been since no vehicle could complete the DARPA autonomous off-road challenge? Not that long ago.
This technology will make our roads a lot safer for truckers and when it becomes common in cars it will make roads a lot safer for everyone.
Too bad that it will take the fun out of threading the needle.