Goldman: Automated Trucks To Cost 300k Jobs Per Year

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Jon LeSage via,

While Google’s Waymo company has taken center stage for bringing self-driving cars to roads, autonomous trucking may make it to the mainstream first. 

Silicon Valley startups, technologists, and venture capitalists see great potential in the technology - even more than most traditional trucking companies are supporting.

For months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has put out teasers that the electric carmaker will soon reveal an electric semi-truck with autonomous capabilities. That announcement may take place this week, on November 16.

Embark, a Silicon Valley start-up, is scheduled to release details next week on its self-driving technology for trucking. The automated system has tested in partnership with truck-leasing company Ryder and Electrolux, an appliance manufacturer. Trial runs are exploring the potential of transporting trailers to Electrolux’s California warehouses with autonomous trucks.

CB Insight, which tracks venture capital, reports that companies will place about $1 billion in commercial truck autonomous systems this year, 10 times the level of spending three years ago.

The $700 billion trucking industry continues to be an integral part of the U.S. economy, and that of other economic giants and developing countries around the world. With more manufacturing happening overseas in places like China, trucking is part of making sure everything from automobiles to packaged food products make it to warehouses and end users on time.

Trucking companies and giants who invest heavily in logistics—like Amazon and Walmart—see great potential in cutting costs and speeding up delivery times. That will come via cutting labor costs when truck drivers no longer become necessary, and by extending the hours that commercial trucks can be kept in operation.

Companies also believe that traffic accidents will be reduced when autonomous vehicles become widely adopted for passenger and cargo transport.

Insurance premiums are expected to go down, along with collision repair costs. Autonomous driving is expected to be much safer than what’s delivered by human drivers.

Waymo and other tech companies and automakers currently testing out self-driving cars are preparing to play a part in developing cities around the world. Government officials, employers, and residents in these cities hope that self-driving cars will eventually reduce the number of cars on the streets and make them safer with less car crashes.

Self-driving cars face tougher challenges navigating through crowded, chaotic city streets—and face even tougher regulatory hurdles to cross. Cargo trucks spend most of their time traveling down broad, open highways with much less traffic.

There’s also the practicality of several trucks “platooning” together on highways that simplifying the equation over companies like Waymo dealing with crowded cities and higher risk for collisions.

Volvo Trucks sees great potential in utilizing platooning systems for cost savings and achieving more efficiency in freight hauling. One autonomous truck can lead a platoon with two or more trucks following close behind, taking advantage of the aerodynamic efficiency.

The company successfully demonstrated on-highway truck platooning in California during March 2017. An alliance was set up for the trial run with Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley, to test three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauling cargo containers at the Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110.

Volvo sees opportunities in achieving fuel savings, improving highway safety, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems.

Daimler AG’s truck division is following a similar path, announcing in September that it will test platooning technology on U.S. roads. The German company’s U.S. division gained approval from Oregon’s transportation regulatory agency after completing a successful trial run in the state.

US Xpress, one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S., added autonomous braking and collision-avoidance systems to its 7,000-plus truck fleet. Next, the company will add automated lane steering for deployment within the next three years.

The 7,000-plus trucks owned by US Xpress, one of the nation’s largest trucking companies, were updated with autonomous braking and collision-avoidance systems. Max Fuller, the company’s co-founder and executive chairman, plans to upgrade them to have automated lane steering in three years.

“I’m putting building blocks into my trucks that each year gets us closer and closer,” said Max Fuller, the company’s co-founder and executive chairman.

Another Silicon Valley company, Peloton Technology, is developing a platooning system that will make it easier for trucks to travel within a platoon. That means they’ll save large volumes of gasoline and diesel typically consumed by work trucks.

Peloton’s system uses cameras, sensors, and networking equipment for trucks to communicate with each other. It can avoid disasters such as a second truck ramming into the first after a sudden stop.

Goldman Sachs economists predicted that trucking will shed about 300,000 jobs per year starting in about 25 years. That may begin sooner than anticipated if automated trucking clears government hurdles and technology innovations—and becomes widely adopted by trucking companies.

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JRobby's picture

Can't wait until it snows!

jcaz's picture

Sure-  can't even mow my yard without a pilot,  but we're on the verge of driverless trucks, uh-huh......

Wait- lemme move my flying car....

Escrava Isaura's picture


Now these drivers can go enjoy their families and church, you know, go on their knees and pray to a superior being.

Then, they can find something more fulfilling and mentally challenging such as helping their towns and communities instead of stressing out in traffic 10 hours a day.

Adams Smith would be clapping his hands.


Manthong's picture


I can hack them and make them go to the sea.


StackShinyStuff's picture

Mish Shedlock called this a while ago

eclectic syncretist's picture

This is an insurance fraudster's dream come true!

johngaltfla's picture

A Tesla self-driving truck?

What shall we name the trucking company, how about "Fireball Express"?

SilverDOG's picture

How about;

"Slow and Easy" instead of "Fast and Furious" ?

All those truckers without jobs and all those trucks stopping for the "obstacles".

Trucks will need armed robots on board.

"Skynet" or "Skynot" I see problems.

Got bag of nails ?

Stuck on Zero's picture

The two easiest jobs to automate are trains and planes. Hasn't happened yet.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Planes are already as automated as they could reasonably be for a long time.  Moving the pilot from the cockpit to the ground is not really automating them more.  It's just moving the pilot from the cockpit to the ground.  Someone still has to plug the amount of cargo and passengers into a computer to get the fuel requirement, and make sure that fuel was actually put onboard.  Someone still has to program the autopilot in consultation with ATC.  Considering the stakes involved, someone still might want to do a visual check that the doors were closed, rather than rely on automated sensors only.  OK, maybe pilots would be more productive if all of their time was spent on ground checks and programming the autopilot, and the do-nothing period in mid-flight was eliminated.  Perhaps a crew of pilots could handle more total planes from the ground than from the various cockpits.

But you can't just say "plane, go to Cleveland" and expect it to happen the way Siri orders your pizza.  Unless the whole ATC system was converted to a nation-wide AI system, and planes had some very sophisticated AI software to land themselves in case of a communication failure, in cooperation with other planes in the air, so they don't hit each other.  That's not the easiest job.

virgule's picture

I have to correct you there. There are driverless trains (metro lines) in France, Taiwan, Canada and Malaysia, and possible other countries. No operator on board.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon's picture

Recently a locomotive in India ran driverless for quite some time, although it was unintentional.

Lost My Shorts's picture

Trucking jobs are actually hard to fill, right?  At least at the wages offered.  Bad for the body, boring, long periods away from family, illegals can't get class A license, too much work for the EBT crowd, etc.  Old white guys are dying off, so who would actually drive the trucks in the future if they didn't drive themselves?

NoPension's picture

Black women.

If 90% of tv commercials are any indication.....they can do anything.

Hal n back's picture

25 years is well after Social Security and Medicare go BK. Medicare woudl be BK too if it had a trust fund that was BS

sleigher's picture

"I can hack them and make them go to the sea."

The hackers are gonna have a field day cleaning out trucks of their goods.  No need to knock the driver out anymore.

Ahhh black markets.

cynicalskeptic's picture

forget the hackers....... you've got a ton of truck drivers with 30.06's they use for hunting.....

take out  front tire on a driverless truck and see how it behaves.....

keep eliminating jobs and we could be in for a redux of the labor wars of the last century -

nevermind that the top 1% can't support the economy all by themselves

Whoa Dammit's picture

Platooning cargo--Isn' that what a train does? And the CEOs gets paid millions (or bililions if your name is Musk) to come up with these crap ideas.

Citxmech's picture

The company's name rhymes with "Wham-o?"  Really?

IH8OBAMA's picture

I can't wait until one takes a wide turn and runs over the car in front of me.


smallblockchevy350's picture

Are you retarded? How are they going to eat?

Escrava Isaura's picture

How they will eat?

That’s easy to solve.

Change the social order.

Instead of having owners like the founding fathers wanted and set it up, the American workers will own whatever is in America.

So, in the truck industry case, the engineers that created the system and the drivers will own that company. The drivers will come to work and do what’s necessary to get the truck ready, such as loading the truck, change the tires, gas it, and so on.

Then, once the trucks are on the road, they drivers and engineers will close the facilities and go home.

The profit to be shared between all those workers whatever way they see fit.


Akzed's picture

Your keyboard, inter alia, was once on a truck, dingleberry.

J S Bach's picture

Just watch... the Teamsters will plan some kind of coordinated sabotage with these robot trucks and try to cause a public backlash against them.  When your livelihood is threatened, people do desperate things.

are we there yet's picture

What Detroit did was to have the assembly robots pay union dues. Teamster robots could do the same.

TuPhat's picture

At least Musk has an advantage in that area.  His trucks won't be in production until about 2030 and then they will only make one a year until around 2050 at which time they will ramp up production to meet demand and make at least 3 a year until 2080 or so.

Cardinal Fang's picture

Many moons ago, I was a dispatcher in a Teamster outfit.

This was when 'beepers' first came out.

We handed one to each driver and said when you finish at your first stop, call in for your next stop...

Lol, they walked out to the parking lot, put them under the wheels of a truck and came back in with 25 beepers smashed to bits.

I said, 'Fine, gentlemen'. After your first stop, come back to the yard and get your next stop from me.'

'Or, you can use beepers. Which is it?'

Never had an issue with anything after that.

Pool Shark's picture

Carjacking is a Serious "Strike" offense here in Kalifornia: It's essentially Robbery where the 'property' taken is a vehicle. Meanwhile, simple "Theft" crimes (including "Grand Theft Auto": VC section 10851) are not Strikes.

Since AB-109 passed, non-violent property crimes can't carry prison sentences; a car thief can never go to prison for stealing vehicles,... no matter how many he steals.

Since there's no driver, stealing a driverless vehicle isn't carjacking!

Smart crooks and gang members are likely planning on how they will be waylaying these driverless cargo trucks.

[Maybe crime does pay...]

DaBard51's picture

A postage stamp, put on each truck.

Then, it's "interfering with the US Mail"...



When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

HRClinton's picture

I expect a lot of sudden tire obstacles that these vehicles will encounter.

Flat tires, traction problems, falling rocks...

DaBard51's picture

Lawn-mowing; automated, it already is...




When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.




Raffie's picture

Think tesla cars crashing was amusing, just wait till 80,000+lb semi crashes. 

Akzed's picture

It happens every day.

jcaz's picture

Sure-  can't even mow my yard without a pilot,  but we're on the verge of driverless trucks, uh-huh......

Wait- lemme move my flying car....

BandGap's picture

Wonder what the range is on one of these higher end models?


JuliaS's picture

A quick google search reveals that 1.3 million people die in car crashes annually with 30-50 mil getting disabled.

Self-driving cars? No thanks! We're quite efficient at mutilating ourselves.

I can't wait for winter either. No other time of year provides as much live entertainment on the road. Last year it took me 2+ hours to cross a bridge during a blizzard, because there were 30-40 cars with no full wheel drive trying to make it up the slope and blocking traffic. It was like watching a giant pinball machine.

Intoxicologist's picture

Hit my compulsory deer already this year. Boom, no headlights is all, and my brand new radiator was left unscathed.

JRobby's picture

Does the truck put it's own chains on?

Fog is also big fun!

Megaton Jim's picture

Q. What's the difference between a Negro and a snow tire?

A. A snow tire doesn't sing when you put chains on it.

cheech_wizard's picture

Q. Whats the difference between a Jew and a pizza?

A. A pizza doesn't scream when you put it in the oven.

Standard Disclaimer: Yes, I went there.


DaBard51's picture

Fun, it must be, a platoon, to fuel...




When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

Megaton Jim's picture

Will they be the same type of obnoxious bastards and cut you off or block you like truckers do now?

GoyimUprising's picture

I plan on hijacking the cargo. Can't wait.

HRClinton's picture

IOW... "Spontaneous BOTS (back of truck sales)"

813kml's picture

1)  Isolated area

2)  Portable EMP cannon

3)  Profit!!!

GoyimUprising's picture

The meth industry will collapse as well.

eclectic syncretist's picture

What happens when one of these trucks tries to cross the border? Who's going to pump the diesel when it runs out?

HRClinton's picture

Mexican drivers take over.

Cheaper than US drivers.

Dun_Dulind's picture

Spike strip the autobots. 

Throat-warbler Mangrove's picture

Next, they'll need a dedicated lane at taxpayer's expense.  Move the freight to the railroad, already.