Self-Driving Semi-Trucks

35,000 pound self-driving semi-trucks are on their way.

This will have an huge negative economic impact for human drivers.

35,000 pound vehicle barreling down the highway. What could possibly go wrong?

Gifted article:


Ever since most truck lines pushed the Teamsters out, and cut pay and benefits, they have been crying about “no-one wanna drive truck”

The “pro-growth” solution would be to ban private cars from the freeways. :slight_smile:


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I think in most places loaded semis are limited to about 80,000 pounds. Are you implying that the the self-driving ones will somehow drive worse than the human driven ones (“barreling”)? I think it is more likely that the self-driving ones will drive better and more consistently than the human driven ones. Furthermore, if someday they can communicate with each other (and with other vehicles), they’ll drive even better!

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Yes, I I’m implying that as of right now. At some point, I believe all driving will be automated and safer than human driven vehicles. I’m guessing my grandchildren won’t need a driver’s license. Maybe. I just haven’t seen proof of automated safe driving yet. And I don’t like the idea of being an involuntary Guinea pig by sharing the road with these behemoths.

I will predict right now that the biggest problem with automated driving is that the beasts will follow the rules .

Tell me, who wants to drive behind a car going the exact speed limit? All the way to the store and back. OMG, the blood pressure will burst. And those who are not self driving will be cutting in and out trying to get out from behind these Librarian drivers.

Imagine. Coming to a full stop at every stop sign. Jumping on the brakes at a yellow light! Sitting, waiting for a biiiiggggg break in traffic to make a left turn, when a normal driver would just zip on thru!

It’s gonna be a nightmare, I tell you. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if everything changed all at once, but mixing the two: FSD and Human Self Driving? Disaster looms.


I noticed a bumper sticker on a car several years ago “I’m not drunk, I’m dodging potholes” Self-driving systems may look nice, when driven on smooth pavement, with brightly painted lines. A friend of mine works in a Kia dealership, and posted a video of him driving Kia’s latest science, which did keep the car between the lanes. But can a self-driving system dodge potholes, or debris in the road? Both are daily encounters in metro Detroit. And if the state goes Shiny again, I would expect the lane lines to fade away again, as the money is diverted to another tax cut for “JCs”.


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Who wants to be in a car that goes the exact speed limit? I think I’ve mentioned this before - once cars start driving themselves, rather than serving (legally) as assistive devices to the driver, it’s hard to see how they can ever exceed the posted speed limit. Once the software/car company takes control over that part of the driving process, there’s no way they can justify to their legal departments allowing the car to speed.

I expect that’s not as much a problem with self-driving semi-trucks, ironically. Aren’t those guys carefully monitored by their companies and generally prohibited from speeding anyway?

I could get behind that if we took the median and adjacent lanes and turned them into high speed train tracks.

Sean Hannity “mass transit is a government conspiracy to take away your freedom!”


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We have a report of it slowing for speedbumps … doesn’t seem very different.

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So that means I am right.

Generally, there will be an incentive for OTR trucks to move together in convoys so they all benefit by minimizing drag of most of the trucks AND maximizing MPGe of their massive battery packs.

Cars have mostly different problems than OTR trucks. OTR truck drivers do not control if they will drive trucks on certain routes. The shipper (or carrier) determines how something is to be shipped. The incentive is to automate long-distance OTR driving to reduce driver costs AND allow the entire convoy to run as efficiently as possible.

Being able to automate most of the miles driven by OTR trucks (live drivers may be used to drive to the nearest appropriate delivery terminal near the destination) means a total lower cost of transportation. Depends on factors we do not yet know, and will not know for some years to come. Terminals may become fully automated, with the truck(s) arriving and then automatically separated into tractor and trailer. An electric tow vehicle pulls the tractor to maintenance and charging, while another pulls the trailer and positions it for unloading (if it is to be unloaded). Given no reported problems with the trailer on the inbound ride, it could be immediately positioned to be hooked to another tractor, join a convoy, and then leave for the next destination (wherever that will be). Similar to a railroad switchyard.

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So they can be trained for something that goes across the road, in a straight line, maybe with stripes painted on it? Potholes are random shape and size, and not marked to aid visual recognition. A self-driving system could probably recognize an obstacle the size of the junk car transmission that fell off the back of a truck, right in front of a coworker of mine, on his way to a job site, but could it recognize a piece of plywood, with nails sticking out of it, laying on the road?


Story time. A couple summers back I took two road trips. Trip 1 was a high speed jaunt with parents and siblings in two vehicles. The speed was chosen by others and was generally over the speed limit. I was exhausted by the drive. After eating dinner, all I wanted to do was get some sleep.

Trip two was just me and my son. I decided I was going to enjoy the drive, so I set the cruise control at 65 - definitely under the speed limit - got in the right lane, and let everyone blast by me. That was far less stressful, and allowed me to enjoy the evenings after arriving at our daily destination.

I also got about a 10% improvement in fuel economy, which was also nice.


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Putin has already won.

Hmmm. Please explain. I have two ill thought out theories, both probably wrong, and a lot of curiosity.

  1. Driving within legal speed limit shows a hopelessly feeble sense of individualism, ignorance of actual enforcement algorithms, and weakness.
  2. All those idiots driving as fast as possible given limitations of enforcement, show how stupid and ready for Putin we are?

Enquiring minds want to know?

d fb


What on earth are you talking about???

Watching FSD commentary it seems most people drive above the speed limit but slow enough not to get pulled over. Same kind of thing with stop signs. Riding a bicycle in Cupertino, CA, I was “pulled over” by a cop for not stopping at a stop sign. I was almost stopped balancing on the bike. I had a chat with the cop. It seems that I should have put a foot on the pavement. Lesson learned, look out for cops behind you at stop signs.

I drove a lot on highways because I had a very large sales territory and my beach club was some 150 miles from my residence, a 300 mile round trip most weekends. Professional truckers were the best drivers. Weekenders driving hotrods were the worst.

The Captain