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Driverless Lorries To Be Trialled In Uk

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35737104

Driverless lorries are to be trialled in the UK, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm in his Budget speech this month.

The Department for Transport said the UK would "lead the way" in testing driverless "HGV platoons".

The technology enables vehicles to move in a group, using less fuel, it said.

The Times reported trials would take place on the M6 in Cumbria later in 2016, with vehicles in convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry.

The tests would take place on a quiet stretch of the motorway, it said.

The paper said the plans could result in platoons of up to 10 computer-controlled lorries being driven metres apart from each other.

It said the chancellor was preparing to fund the trials as part of plans to speed up lorry deliveries and cut congestion.

Is this the death knell for thousands of HGV lorry drivers?

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35737104

Is this the death knell for thousands of HGV lorry drivers?

Possibly quite the reverse - I'd see this as using the convoy time for the driver to go off the clock - have some rest/sleep - then take over when you get to the end of the motorway.

Unlike driverless cars you can't get rid of truck drivers - they've got important jobs to do at each end with loading/unloading responsibilities, as well as the final navigation part (it is much more difficult to drive an artic through a village than a little car)

I'd see the consequences of this would be:

  • lorry parks profits lower - who needs to lay up for the tacho when you sleep on the move?
  • for a short while you'll see a reduction in lorry sales - each tractor will be able to run 24/7 and so you don't need so many of them on the road to deliver the same loads. (Eventually this will sort itself out because each tractor will be doing more miles/year and will wear out faster).
  • lower fuel consumption for the country - the lorry convoys are surprisingly fuel efficient...
  • Slightly fewer lorries on the road in the day - it will be easier to travel in the convoy.

The dangerous consequence will be the start of a new game - tractor pushing. A bit like cow pushing, but hooligans late at night will play the game where they try to get as close to the lorry convoy as possible / drive into the gap, just to see how the computer reacts.

I also see this as the main problem with driverless cars - eg kids will play on the roadside trying to get the computer in the car to respond, etc.

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Henry Ford comes to mind, doubling wage because he wanted them to buy the cars they made. No point in computer lorry drivers if the economy doesn't need the lorry load of goods? The current drivers spend and consume.

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Call me an old fuddy-duddy but wouldn't it be better to first trial driverless technology on something rather smaller than a convoy of heavy goods vehicles?

Sounds much easier to me - the truck at the front just has to keep on the white lines (avoiding cars in front), while the guy at the wheel (who has had loads of training etc) does risk stuff. the cabs behind just have to follow at a few inches (or whatever).

I'd say that this sort of driverless tech could make a real difference very quickly.

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Henry Ford comes to mind, doubling wage because he wanted them to buy the cars they made. No point in computer lorry drivers if the economy doesn't need the lorry load of goods? The current drivers spend and consume.

Human beings have been reducing the amount of labour needed to achieve their goals since the first australopithecine hunter used a sharp stone instead of his teeth to cut up his catch. 4 million years later: plenty of workers, plenty of consumers.

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Human beings have been reducing the amount of labour needed to achieve their goals since the first australopithecine hunter used a sharp stone instead of his teeth to cut up his catch. 4 million years later: plenty of workers, plenty of consumers.

I would ask one, but they are extinct! :lol:

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Possibly quite the reverse - I'd see this as using the convoy time for the driver to go off the clock - have some rest/sleep - then take over when you get to the end of the motorway.

Unlike driverless cars you can't get rid of truck drivers - they've got important jobs to do at each end with loading/unloading responsibilities, as well as the final navigation part (it is much more difficult to drive an artic through a village than a little car)

I'd see the consequences of this would be:

  • lorry parks profits lower - who needs to lay up for the tacho when you sleep on the move?
  • for a short while you'll see a reduction in lorry sales - each tractor will be able to run 24/7 and so you don't need so many of them on the road to deliver the same loads. (Eventually this will sort itself out because each tractor will be doing more miles/year and will wear out faster).
  • lower fuel consumption for the country - the lorry convoys are surprisingly fuel efficient...
  • Slightly fewer lorries on the road in the day - it will be easier to travel in the convoy.

The dangerous consequence will be the start of a new game - tractor pushing. A bit like cow pushing, but hooligans late at night will play the game where they try to get as close to the lorry convoy as possible / drive into the gap, just to see how the computer reacts.

I also see this as the main problem with driverless cars - eg kids will play on the roadside trying to get the computer in the car to respond, etc.

No need for the driver(s) on the automated convoy trucks. Assembly point where a fewer number of drivers are used more like pilots (from the commercial boat scene) to take the lorries to their final destination and unload / load and then back to assembly poit where teh automation takes over. Also if the savings were to be made available to the customers get them to do the unloading, customer dedicated trailers dropped off and spare empty ones picked up once unloaded, if there is enough space, or maye have different delivery trucks altogether for the last few miles, smaller automated transport units taking jus a few pallets, these could be automated or just cheaper drivers.

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I can see this taking over from the long distance lorry driver in the mid term.

Yes it is impractical in built up areas (for now) but the "optionally manned" cabs will pick up a driver for the last few "non motorway" miles.

Professional drivers (of any type) will be gone in a generation and the current crop can now expect to see downward pressure on wages and conditions.

If I were a young lorry driver, I would now start my long term re-training plan.

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If we do have the kind of global reset most of us expect, I'm not sure investment in this kind of thing will be top of the tree.

Edit - this might eventually be useful for large companies moving masses of raw material in the shorter term where there are large out of town depots to travel between, but individual driven vehicles will still be around for a good while yet in this country.

Edited by Noallegiance

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I can just imagine realizing you've left your wallet in the car, go back outside and the f*ckers driven itself off to find a charging point! You'd be chasing it down the street!

By then you'll be paying for everything via your retina.

The perfect consumer drone.

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There is a lot more money in road transport vs rail. I would also venture that the driver cost is higher as you need a lot more lorry drivers compared to train drivers. There is also greater competition in your rolling stock on the road and I imagine the life of a truck is a lot shorter than the life of a train, so you can iterate a lot quicker.

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Sounds pretty pointless. It's not as if we've got a shortage of people to drive lorries, or a big demand for labour that unemployed lorry drivers could fulfill, so why bother coming up with fancy complex methods of doing something that people are capable enough of doing themselves?

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Sounds pretty pointless. It's not as if we've got a shortage of people to drive lorries, or a big demand for labour that unemployed lorry drivers could fulfill, so why bother coming up with fancy complex methods of doing something that people are capable enough of doing themselves?

Ultimately, to get rid of the need for people.

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Sounds pretty pointless. It's not as if we've got a shortage of people to drive lorries, or a big demand for labour that unemployed lorry drivers could fulfill, so why bother coming up with fancy complex methods of doing something that people are capable enough of doing themselves?

So Osborne et al can continue to not tax technology companies whilst cutting public services & social goods.

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