The main draws seem to be a lack of state regulation and lots of Interstate highways. Early stages will be basically testing, with a human driver in the trucks who will handle emergencies and city traffic. I assume that they will remove the humans as soon as possible, due to their cost. Otherwise there's no point in having robot trucks.
Anyway, whether these particular trucks are robot-ready today, others soon will be. And another well-paying occupation will disappear.
They've had accidents with self driving cars. A truck would be much worse in terms of possible fatalities. One good pile up and the liability would bankrupt a business. I imagine that would deter a lot of companies from utilizing this technology.
Deb- Trucks are already killing people on the highways, so I doubt it will be any different for robo-trucks. One of my best friends from college and his wife were killed when a semi coming down an access ramp too fast flipped and landed on top of their car. Squashed them like bugs. But the trucks keep on rolling.
Bob - The difference between the past and the future is that new technology often created new jobs in the old days. New technology these days tends to remove jobs and NOT create new ones. When a factory is automated and robots replace most of the workers, those people have few, if any, options. Even computer programmers are being replaced by computers that can write their own code. If robots can do almost everything a human can, there will simply be no need for human workers in most jobs. And no replacement jobs for discarded workers. 8-<
My God! How awful -- I'm so sorry you lost your friend in such a gruesome manner. Did they have children?
I am really not very good with visual measurement estimates beyond those required for sewing or cutting stretcher bars for canvas. But it seems to me that over the years, the trucks keep getting longer and longer. Surely, that alone would make turns more problematic if one considers space requirements to make turns or the possibility of an unbalanced load causing a tendency to tip.
I always wondered if there was a limit to the length trucks could reach because they seem so much longer than they did when I was a child.
You never seem to see those small squat little trucks that used to deliver single items -- like the milkman drove. But then again, I am just old enough to remember the tail end of the horse and wagon fruit and vegetable men who drove through the streets hawking their fresh produce. (Frankly, I miss that on the basis of charm -- they all had their own sing song kind of cry that let the ladies know they were coming down the street. The man who worked our neighborhood always called out,"Strawberries, blueberries, cherries..." But he kind of sung it with several notes. I was five at the time and thought his horse "Brownie" was probably every bit as talented as "My Friend Flicka" -- or would be, if he wasn't pulling a fruit and vegetable wagon. Of course, "Brownie" could equally compete with The Lone Ranger's "Silver" -- he simply lacked opportunity. I couldn't quite understand why the fruit and vegetable man failed to see his possibilities and laughed when I seriously suggested he be taken to Hollywood for his big break. I was a weird child.)
Still...I hate progress to that extent. I caught the tail end of cobblers, knife sharpeners, hot dog cart men, all kinds of little specialty professions that don't exist anymore. It was a different world. It was somehow warmer and full of adventure.
Robotic things will never replace splendidly mustachioed grandpas with marvelous horses and colorful wagons as they go along --- singing in the streets. They could go anywhere your imagination could take them.
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2019 8:13:36 GMT -5 by debutante
>I'm so sorry you lost your friend in such a gruesome manner. Did they have children? ---A grown daughter and grandkids.
>But it seems to me that over the years, the trucks keep getting longer and longer. ---Indeed. Texas also allows double-loads. That is, a regular semi trailer with a second trailer attached to the back of the first one. VERY long and awkward to turn. My friend was killed in Ohio, so I can’t blame Texas laws for that. Still, the idea is that we lost about 40,000 Americans in car wrecks in 2018, most caused by human error, and very few of our leaders seem to care. So why would losing a few thousand to robots be a problem? 8->
---Actually, I think I trust robot drivers more than most humans. I see humans drivers do incredibly stupid things literally every time I’m on the road.
---Nostalgia – Odd that you grew up in the city and I the country, yet you had more contact with horse-drawn carts and other old-fashioned things than I did. My area was cotton country (no horses). The cotton was picked by machines, put in trailers pulled by trucks, carried to the gin and processed by machines, then trucked away to market. Just one or two steps shy of being done by robots even back in the 1960's. LOL
No horses when you grew up? Oh the deprivation! I loved horses as a child (still do despite the fact that I became scared to death of them after the infamous incident somewhere in the Southwestern United States which, I am told ended in a helicopter hunt. My aunt talked my parents into taking my brother and me along with my cousins, on a car trip to Disneyland. Afterward, I was never really sure which state this incident occurred in, or if it had really happened at all. My aunt was an "Auntie Mame" type of person who believed in living large. With that kind of attitude things can go wrong and she never wanted to take responsibility. So she kept telling me the rest of the trip that.."it never happened" -- until I thought I'd imagined it all. I was about about 5 -- so that accounts for how she managed to get away with this particular disaster. I was in my thirties when I asked my brother if the horse incident happened and he said it did and added details. This was the first my parents heard of it and both of them went ballistic -- as if there was anything to be done decades after the fact.)
Even after all that -- I really love them (horses) even though I won't go near one.
Seriously...they are beautiful animals when free to run in pastures unhindered -- a sight to behold. They're even fun to watch when raced (believe it or not I knew some professional jockeys in my twenties -- very serious people. Horse people are deadly serious about their love of all things "horse".)
I don't go near race tracks anymore ( had a legitimate reason to be there in my youth) and only bet once a year on the Kentucky derby.
But now you've destroyed all my illusions. I thought all Texans had horses!
Last Edit: Aug 8, 2019 8:44:51 GMT -5 by debutante
> I thought all Texans had horses! ---Nay. Texas became an urban state in 1945. Yes, there are still farms and ranches around, but something like 75% of the population lives in towns and cities. Not many live or work on ranches. Same goes for cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Every time Texas is shown on TV, they show people with boots and hats. But they're just dressing up like Germans wearing lederhosen or some such. I don't know where they find them. I literally go months at a time without seeing anyone wearing cowboy boots and hats. Now "gimme" caps, baseball caps with "John Deere" or sports teams or such on them, they're all over the place. But cowboy stuff is a costume saved for rare occasions, at least in Austin.
Like I say, I grew up on the south part of the Texas Panhandle. Flat as a table, full of cotton fields. Here and there a town or farmhouse, like islands in a sea of flat brown fields. Much like parts of Kansas and eastern Colorado. Flat, dry, and windy. The Siberia of Texas. 8->
>What about the Texas Rangers? ---Real. They are a state police force. Supplement locals, especially in rural areas.
>Do they still have oil wells like on "Giant"? Are cattle ranches lost to history? I mean free range and not keeping them cattle cooped up in pens. ---A few, but not like the old days.
>Do they still have any working mines? ---Never had much in the way of rare-mineral mining back in the day. Gold and silver tends to be further up the Rockies.
Texas is divided into 5 very large geographic regions. The Coastal Plain is pretty much like Florida and other Gulf States. Shrimp boats, fishing, surfing, etc. Lots of Vietnamese refugees moved there during the fall of Vietnam back in the 1970s.
To the northeast, it’s much like the Deep South. Even have coal mines and lumber mills. (Coal miners and lumberjacks in Texas?!?! Oh, my!) The Panhandle is a Kansas clone. Out west, the Trans-Pecos, is desert, looks like the stuff they film in Southern California and call Texas. But you can’t have ranches where there is no grass and no water. Ranches tend to be more central, where it rains. These days they have oil wells and wind farms in the desert.
Houston is a major port, like New Orleans. Back in the 1840s-50s, lots of European refugees came to Texas. Like people in neighborhoods in New York, they tended to stay together, but built their own towns. So we have towns of Germans, Czechs, Poles, Danes, etc., with their own foods and cultures. There’s a big Czech brewery, plus a guy in Austin who makes vodka. (Imagine a Texas lumberjack drinking vodka in a Polish restaurant in a Czech town. Makes the brain hurt, yes? LOL)
West of Austin is the Hill Country. Looks like parts of Italy. Even have vineyards and wineries.
Austin is one of the high-tech centers of the US. We have IBM, Dell, AMD, Google, Amazon, and many more here. Which means a very, very large Asian population (Chinese and Indian, mostly). Have had more Asian restaurants than Mexican restaurants for over 30 years now. Several Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosques, etc., too. You can go to services at a Hindu temple, eat afterward at an Ethiopian restaurant, then maybe go downtown for the world premiere of a movie. No cowboy hats or boots, but maybe some saris or turbans. 8->
So, yeah, trust ye not the cowboy movies. There was a brief period of about 20 years just post-civil war that fits the cowboy movies, but that’s it. Not the same before or after.