Robotic trucks set to push drivers out of a job?

| July 11, 2013

robot1Does it make business sense for fleets to switch from using actual, human truck drivers to trucks either driven autonomously or via robot?

According a recent report from management magazine strategy + business, fleets could save billions across the industry by switching from human controlled trucks to those that drive themselves. Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s Senior Editor Kevin Jones has a full write-up on the latest on autonomous trucks on CCJ‘s site, where he says the economic upside for fleets would immediately include productivity, as hours of service rules would no longer be a worry.

Nor would driver wages, says one analyst in Jones’ story.

The numbers now are roughly this: It costs $200,000 to outfit a truck and trailer to run autonomously, which would yield savings of about $100,000 every year, which, obviously, would put any fleets that made the switch in the black on the change in just two years.

The analyst also says fleets that do adopt autonomous trucks early will set establish “industry-leading positions.”

Do drivers need to be watching their backs? Click here to see Jones’ full post on autonomous trucks.

  • Jen

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

  • Bam113

    Good luck with that.

  • godfearingrebel

    Then that is the surest sign that the “government” will enthusiasticlly back it up. Unless, of course, it would put some illigals out of a job.

  • greg

    robots can not pay fines

  • John Scott

    Robots are designed to follow a schedule and adhere to it. We all know shippers and receivers are really bad at schedules. What also happens to the truck? Who will inspect it, fuel it, do roadside repairs to get it back running? I know of no robot that can be reactive to all the vast complexities of truck driver. Driving the truck is only a small part of truck driving.

  • Frank Jindra

    does this robot talk to police officers and turn in accident reports ???, lol This could be funnie to watch

  • leo c

    maybe a robot will start writing these articles. stupid…

  • Frank Jindra

    Robots driving trucks… ??? would like to see them fuel up a semi and do a DOT truck inspection… Mabe see it back up into a dock and unload…

  • atitolo

    No way! There are too many variables for such an application. I wonder what rules the DOT would come up with for robots. It is totally bogus. Don’t worry you will always need humans. Dis you see the video of a robotic jet liner. IT CRASHED on take off!!

  • Jon McLaughlin

    All it would take to stop this stupidity would be a robot kill a bus loaded with children on their way to or from school.

  • bo

    How about Robots in the White House and Congress.No more stupid humans running the country.

  • Jackie

    That’s it guys make fun of this,it’s happening,and your gone, watch a program about his five years ago,and BMW has made a car that drives it’s self,saw a comment about fueling a truck that’s no problem,opening doors no problem, and loading a trailer is a problem,and they won’t require a log book for them either, but’you’ll bitch cry and complain when it’s all over won’t you!,and planes won’t be able to fly with out a pilot the writing is on the wall and corporations own your sole so don’t vote don’t do anything and good luck to ya!

  • Double S

    I guess some of you might to to young to remember that there was full service stations once upon a time? Maybe you have never seen the cars in California without drivers? Yep there was 4-5 that ran along without a driver in the hov lane. You had better wake up, technology is here that this can and will be done. Senors that tell the truck to shut down, senors that says the tire pressure is low. Everything that needs to be known is already in place, not to mention that robot will not brake the law, nor complain and require extra pay sitting at the dock. So what if it’s held up, companies will just charge the detention and put it in their pocket. If it breaks down it will have already made the call to have service on the way to fix it. But my guess is that will be a rarity since it will be in sync with the truck and fix problems before they get to bad. Robots would be more safer drivers as well since they will have all the senors and radars to tell them where they are and gps as well. Face it the days of the real American Truck Driver are all but dead. On board recorders, automatic transmissions, and senors on governed trucks, not to mention gps tracking. Robotic trucks not to far away, steering wheel holders a thing of the past, and Truck Drivers dead and gone. Laugh it up it will happen.

  • Double S


  • Truckertwotimes

    In all honesty we need Robitics to replace much more than truck drivers, much much more!

  • Truckertwotimes

    I replied before I seen this one, that’s it, but the top demons that are already running the human robotics that only perform on the Stage would only need to replace the human figures that only (think) they are important because they have spending money, so it just keeps on recycling

  • lfhpueblo

    Does this remind anyone of those old horror movies where the semi’s came after other vehicles and even people. You know the ones that plowed through cafes and ran people down? This is stupid because robots don’t pay taxes or pay into Social Security, or help pay for everyone who is on welfare and more. Sure take more jobs away from USA citizens! What else is new~ stupid economics is stupid economics, is stupid economics. Stupidity is sure becoming a standard for this country now, isn’t it?

  • lfhpueblo

    I saw that BMW program too~

  • lfhpueblo

    They’ll put a minimum wage non-legal citizen into the passenger seat to fuel and unload, you know the ones that barely speak English, so the truck will have a computer system in it to interpret English into Spanish and vice versa. Repairs well they’ll have another robot that will fly to them via big drones to do the repairs to the trucks as needed. Actually robotic vehicles are usually designed to self diagnose the mechanical problems to speed up repair time.

  • lfhpueblo

    Nope, won’t put illegals out of a job, they get to ride shot-gun in the passenger seats at minimum wage to do the unloading.

  • lfhpueblo

    No, it wouldn’t stop this stupidity, the government will see it as allowable collateral damage. They’ll not recognize them as human beings and it will all be swept under the rug. What would be more likely to stop it would be the unions hunting down the robotic trucks and ramming them off mountains, into lakes and such.

  • sean

    some of you dumb drivers would go with the program in supporting robots. Just like you drivers went with the dumb idea of wanting to take a half hour break during your day. Guess what when you drive a big truck you are your own boss you never let a dispatcher dictate to you when and where to take a break. If you get sleepy pull over and take a break at your will fuck the freight it isn’t going anywhere.

  • Mike Smith

    Why would a car be driving without a driver? What the heck would be the purpose? Just jump on a people mover.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    There are some STUPID people in this world a robot driving a truck REALLY I hope they start and the the first week they kill people all over the united states who will be to blame the company who built them ???? Maybe the company who hired them no drug test ???? What if they get a virus and crash ????? WAKE up you stupid ass people who think this is a good idea. Our local zoo has a lot of monkeys that could run our congress all ya gotta do is fatten’em up put a monkey suit on them oh they already have on on hell all ya really gotta do is put them in congress no experience needed the ass clowns in there right now are really worthless than a screen door on a submarine. They lie,steal,cheat,filp flop,waffle jaw, a buncha never worked a hard day in there life useless @$&^#%(#. THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST CHITHOLE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE IN IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS.

  • Ronald Quint

    What could potentially be a better idea is 1 truck and driver leading a convoy of 6-7 driverless trucks on a flat stretch of highway.

  • martymarsh

    LMAO, there are some places you can’t replace humans and this is one of them.
    First, I have heard that a driverless truck has already went coast to coast, I don’t know how true it is, it is something I heard. I think 200 grand for a driverless truck is very conservative, and how would they save 100 grand a year when drivers don’t make that much.
    Then they are going to have to have someone ride along in case this thing breaks down, a very high dollar mechanic, because now he not only has to fix the truck but he also has to be a college graduate to fix the complicated computer parts that will go bad. So with this guy alone what are they saving? Also, where are you going to find a high dollar computer guy that wants to get greasy.
    Then they would have to build a different road system so these things aren’t breaking down in the middle of interstate 80 and screwing everything up.
    There is nothing cheap about this, so what is it actually worth to these carriers that don’t want to pay drivers? They already pay ridiculous amounts of money in advertising to try to hirer drivers, when if they actually paid drivers they would never have to advertise, that one has always confused me. Also if they would save on lying recruiters, which they will anyway if drivers are not needed.
    Now I’m starting to see it, this will eliminate more than just drivers.
    But when common sense kicks in they will figure out, anything that saves you money always cost more, does that make sense?
    Maybe if you where born today this would happen in your life time, but be prepared, go to college to be a truck mechanic, they are going to be making 150 grand a year. So where is the savings?

  • martymarsh

    To say it is so easy, can you even fathom the expense. This is not as simple as buy a truck and put a computer in it.

  • Freightliner01

    Like to see a robot jump out every 150 miles and tighten chains and binders ! BLAHAHAHAHAHa

  • Freightliner01

    You’re exactly right ! Obama already has blames ATM s for high unemployment !

  • Freightliner01

    Are CRST and Schneider and JB Hunt considered ” driverless ?”

  • Lance Krouse

    “chuckles” Some drivers make me wonder!

  • William McKelvie

    I don’t know what is worse, the feed articles or the hill? Bout the same these days huh? LOL

  • Zachary Bell

    No, but the motor carrier who owns and controls them can. However, would the robot be smart enough to pull over when the cops turn their disco lights on, or would it just keep on truckin’?

  • Zachary Bell

    Like politicians, for example.

  • Zachary Bell

    No, but they could be once this becomes the popular thing. CRST would be one of the first to do it, since their CSA scores already suck.

  • Double S

    I’m sure that this mentality is probably about the same of the auto assembly line worker and others of days gone by. You know the guys that had the job of putting the welds in the cars or trucks to hold them together for example. He thought no machine would be able to replace him either. Computers and computer controlled devices can react much faster than you or I can therefore they will be safer on the roads. They will be able to communicate with the truck where you can not so they can get it fixed before that problem puts them on the side. As someone said tightening binders might be a problem but in the vast array of things that could be your new job since robots won’t put you out of work so you say. I wonder if the mine truck drivers in Australia thought the could not be replaced by a robot? But now they are out of a job. Or maybe one driver for 4-5 trucks so that would put 3-4 of you out of a job in that case. Plenty of info out there that shows this can work and does work, it won’t be long before it’s right here in the good ole USA.

  • DE_from_NC

    Well, we’ve all been in plants where a robot carrying a roll of paper to a manufacturing station comes rolling by following wires buried in the concrete floor so THE TECHNOLOGY DOES EXIST ! BUT ! With as many variables as are thrown at a driver every minute (weather, 4 wheelers, road closures/detours, etc) and we don’t “make the same trip over & over across the same piece of concrete floor the “operatorless paper roll robot carrier” does, this is pure, unadulterated b**s**t to think this would ever come to pass ! Hell, they lose control of drones every week and end up killing women, children and other innocent people you never hear about ! How many lives will be lost when one o’ these “driverless” trucks control is lost when they run over minivans and SUVs of vacationing familes ? Drones will have come to the highways, but then again, if you step back and look at the real BIG PICTURE, that might be the plan anyway ! kill off some of the population with “driverless” trucks, who are you going to charge for the crime ? A robot ? They’re killing us slow now anyway with all the s**t they’re putting in our food, why not a few “deaths by robot” ?

  • EF McHenry

    Very good response!! I must say once again, “you make sense!” All to often the “pie in the sky” mentality overwhelms so many sensational hungry people who have nothing better to do than dream of apocalyptic delusions and paradigm shifts! It ain’t that simple! Like traveling to the stars….! Hah they can’t even get a man to mars and back without spending massive amounts of$$$! And for what? Hah it’s gonna take many more years before some of this stuff becomes reality! I’ll let you have this one!!
    As for the stars?? They’d be better off just sticking with science fiction! It costs a whole lot less……

  • RS

    Apparently, the readers and the writer of this article do not get out much. The mining industry is already setting up driver-less trucks in the open pit mines in Australia. They do have a shortage of truck drivers. This was one of the highlights of the 2012 Mining Show in Las Vegas. In Europe, they are experimenting with driver-less trucking using electric driven trucks. The driver is there only to engage when off the electric power source.
    The problem with the U.S.culture is that we used to want and crave progress. The U.S. by the articles date of 2028 be second fiddle to other countries….except for maybe Mexico.
    We Truckers need to understand that we will be the next steel workers, auto workers to be let go. That’s why I’m hoping my kids do not follow in my footsteps of truck driver.

  • Eric Evans

    good luck. I would rather see the person in the cab who I know is able to think

  • Oscar

    There are 8 driverless cars in the US now. Maybe more. 3 in Nevada and 5 in California, all with special tags.

    However, it is one thing to have a driverless car. They must do many things, true. Watch for other cars, animals and people and red lights, stop signs and so forth. However there are a few things that trucks do that cars don’t, like find a spot to back into at the loading dock. Slide their trailer axles to accommodate weight or make backing into tight areas easier. Adjust speed and possibly know when to stop while in the Great Divide Basin on the I-80 in Wyoming. Know when to stop to help in an accident along the road, or how to slam on the brakes when that damn teenage girl on her cell phone cuts you off.

  • mousekiller

    There is a lot of non believers about robotics driving vehicles. I really hate to break your bubbles but in 1958 they had them already and were testing drive by sensors in road bed. This robotics is not new. The government just thought the general public could not handle it. The govt handled it like area 51. Didn’t exist. Yeah right.

  • Truckertwotimes

    I just want to add, I cut my toenails last week.

  • Truckertwotimes

    this is pure genius

  • Truckertwotimes

    Surely the makers can implement this as well, surely…

  • Truckertwotimes

    lol, I’d say this will be input into the genius technology

  • Truckertwotimes

    Yes, it is the standard now.

  • Truckertwotimes

    Yeah, I’d be willing to bet the design in the Robot would still have a slot insert for cash, credit cards and etc

  • Truckertwotimes

    I’d bet the genius design could program the Robot to back the truck into any tight spot even into a crowded tight spot at the PeeLot with one smooth back, just the opposite of pulling out, one smooth maneuver

  • Truckertwotimes

    That will probably come before the Robot Truck Driver, much more simplicity plus the technology is probably already in use strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.