Far in the distant future ( but closer than you might think) the roads of America and the likely the world will be covered in autonomous vehicles of all sizes. Google is already hard at work with self driving passenger cars and now multitude of companies are developing the future of freight hauling with driver-less semi trucks.
Enter Otto, a company founded by former Technical Lead of Google’s autonomous car division Anthony Levandowski and former Product Lead of Google Maps Lior Ron. Otto has alreayd equiped three Volvo VNL trucks with radar, lidar, and cameras for use on the highways of Nevada. Between the Otto trucks and the self piloting Freightliner Inspiration Nevada has become ground zero for what surely will be the uprising of the machines. It only figures that destruction of mankind would come at the hands of a Volvo.
Below, a video that doesn’t tell you very much but gives you a glimpse of the technology involved.
The team behind this digital spearhead foresees an immediate future in which Otto equipped trucks exclusively traverse the Interstate Highway System due to the limited access traffic entry points, lack of pedestrians and somewhat predictable traffic flow. Someday we might see trucks equipped from the factory with similar autonomous systems but in the mean time retrofit systems will be the first option for fleets looking to augment their driver ranks. For more details check out this Popular Mechanics article.
I cannot believe the fools celebrating this technology. This will only lead to less and less jobs in the trucking industry, and more and more people on the unemployment line. And the ratio of people needed to run these systems is far less than the amount of people needed to drive each truck. This is a slippery slope that will only end in loss.
Don’t worry, right now the Federal Government and DOT have been strangely hands off. Once they get involved these projects will grind to a halt.