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Well, yes…..

According to research produced for insurer Axa, trucks without humans at the wheel could deliver savings to the haulage industry of between £19.5bn and £47.5bn over a decade, which if passed on to consumers could cut their bills by the equivalent of one and a half week’s grocery shopping every year.

So, how do we make sure the benefits are passed on?

By making sure that the trucks themselves and then he siupermarkets are working in competitive markets. That’s the only way in fact we have of making sure that savings in one part of the production chain pass through to the consumer.

7 thoughts on “Well, yes…..”

  1. Did Axa use a retired GCM to project this idea? The error bar certainly suggests it. I find the use of a photo depicting bumper-to-bumper HGV’s on Op Stack somewhat whimsical. How would a driverless HGV fleet cope with the multiple choices presented by Stack, a major road-blocking accident on the Motorway or a fisherman’s blockade at Calais? I don’t believe that AI development (outside the works of Asimov) is remotely close to dealing with this, though if anyone has more current information it would be good to know.

  2. Its fantasy of the “gosh-wow” school.

    The problems to be faced are vast. The casuality list attending getting it wrong would be equally vast.

    I love technology but it is a field full of bullshit that with few exceptions (Moore’s Law type stuff) that always promises more than it delivers . Heinz Wolff –remember him?–once did a TV programme called “The Future is further away than you think” pointing out that real change is much slower than the gosh-wow predictions. Jet packs etc.

    The one I thought most amusing is the baldness cure. Back in 1984 some scientist called Jahoda had managed to clone and replace a rat’s lost whiskers (certain species of rats seemingly can lose their whiskers by a process alike to baldness). The New Scientist (now renamed the New Leftist) was bigging it up–“another 10years and they’ll be cloned heads of hair, etc.

    Then silence for 30 years. It appears that some Yank team have re-done Jahoda’s experiments just last year (he even got a name-check) complete with the addition of modern buzz-words “stem cells ” etc. Only another ten years and there will be implantable new heads of hair all around. So there will be another news story in 2044.

    The dead-tree press will prob be gone by then so the number of auto-trucks needed will be less.

  3. one and a half week’s grocery that would suggest lorry drivers wages come to about 3% of total cost of food (assuming the new tech is free, more if its not) – seems a bit high. One lorry really does carry an awful lot of food.

    Suppose, 30,000 Kg food on one lorry, human lives approx 30,000 days, so a lorry carries about one person’s total life food requirements (excepting all sorts of things).

    Just makes 3% seem high, that’s all. A lorry carries and awful lot of food, but i repeat myself.

  4. @Mr Bonk
    You’re forgetting truck divers are limited in working hours, so it’d probably be possible to get much more “on the road” miles. And of course, “off shifting” drivers need to be back at their home depot when their permitted hours expire.
    So you could realise a lot of cost savings by having an integrated fleet of trucks that roll around the entire country fulfilling an “as needed, anywhere to anywhere” transport requirement rather than the current, depot based,, ship & return, model.
    And if you’ve hacked a driverless truck, you’ve almost certainly hacked an automated loading/unloading system.* So it’d be entirely possible to have a fleet in constant action 24/365.
    You’d be doubling or more your carrying capacity. Trebling, I’d guess.

    *Company I worked for, thirty years ago, had an automated pallet handling system would have been capable of loading, /unloading trucks. It was capable of placing a pallet within 5mm. It’s problem was interfacing with humans, couldn’t place a pallet within 5 feet.

  5. Do the savings include the number of trucks being robbed now there’s no-one in the cab?

    Just stand in the road so the truck stops, and wait while your mates offload a van-full of stuff. They’ll be long gone before the cops arrive.

  6. The dead-tree press will prob be gone by then so the number of auto-trucks needed will be less.

    I’m guessing that, by the time an automated truck is actually technically and legally viable, 3D printers and other forms of local manufacturing will have made them obsolete.

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