Goldman: Automated Trucks To Cost 300k Jobs Per Year

Authored by Jon LeSage via OilPrice.com,

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.

Comments

Escrava Isaura jcaz Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:00 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
Good. 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.  

In reply to by jcaz

Lost My Shorts Stuck on Zero Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:33 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

Lost My Shorts SilverDOG Tue, 11/14/2017 - 21:21 Permalink

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?

In reply to by SilverDOG

cynicalskeptic sleigher Tue, 11/14/2017 - 22:02 Permalink

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

In reply to by sleigher

Escrava Isaura smallblockchevy350 Wed, 11/15/2017 - 03:48 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
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.  

In reply to by smallblockchevy350

Cardinal Fang J S Bach Tue, 11/14/2017 - 22:48 Permalink

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.

In reply to by J S Bach

Pool Shark jcaz Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:11 Permalink

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...]

In reply to by jcaz

JuliaS JRobby Wed, 11/15/2017 - 00:16 Permalink

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.

In reply to by JRobby