I know that many of you think I am anti-autonomous truck. That is because, like most people, you only read or listen to a level that supports a previously conceived opinion.
This time, please listen to the entire argument. Read with intention. Autonomy can be good and needed in certain applications. Pump the brakes people.
It’s the same with drones. But, we can save that for another day.
Autonomous trucks? Good … in certain situations and applications.
Plus has got it right. First, they are designing a system around the 2-million-mile-and-up safe driver. Terms like “no ego” and “does not care about real estate” are common among the people at Plus, meaning the system is very friendly to surrounding traffic.
No, there is no attitude adjustment lever nor a road rage switch. It is just plain old safe and rather relaxing.
The truck is using a system that is level-four capable but is restricted down to level two. A very cool level two ensures the driver is always aware and at minimum engaged with what the truck is doing. By making easy commands to the truck, the driver can rest assured that the system will perform those tasks safely.
When I talk about the safety and driver experience improvements being the early money in this space, and really the “end game” for most of it, this is the system I imagine.
It isn’t going to negotiate busy city streets and blindside into a sunken bay dock off a two-lane busy avenue. And by “it” I mean any and all autonomous trucks, not just Plus.
They aren’t even pretending that is a reality with today’s technology. Looking for no hype no bull shit autonomous truck solutions? Look for someone like Plus.
Autonomous cars? Good … in certain situations and applications.
Are they ready for any type of deployment? No.
Will they ever be? That is a solid maybe, even from the manufacturers themselves.
Yes, they are already awesome in the ADAS — Advanced Driver Assistance System — space. Or The Dude’s safety features developed from the attempts to go full autonomous are awesome space — TDSFDFTATGFAAAS. Take that, acronym gods!
However, in the ADS — automated driving space — not so much. And if ever it will be, it will be in limited capacity like ride-share companies or people with tons of money who are out of touch with reality and buy expensive autonomous cars instead of helping kids from poor families not die from cancer.
They simply are not any safer in their current form, nor will they be with the foreseeable future technology. In fact, they are twice as likely to be in a crash than a car without the technology. These are not statistics from random sources 10 years ago.
Check out any number of reports, like the report in GT – Government Technology. It comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), I know, a fly-by-night smear campaign that just happens to be using data reported by the AV manufacturers themselves.
Again, read with intent. I am not anti-AV. I am anti-bullshit.
The report is five months old now, so I am sure that the ADAS systems have improved dramatically over their 392 crashes with six fatalities, five serious injuries, and 41 minor injuries. They probably won’t hit pedestrians anymore either.
Vehicles with ADS were only involved in 130 crashes! But, when you adjust to a percentage of ADS vehicles on the road, the results aren’t so much better than ADAS-equipped vehicles.
Surely technology is making things safer, Mr. The Dude.
NOPE. Let’s look at traffic fatalities over the past decade throwing in miles driven to level it out.
These statistics were brought to you by … the NHTSA.
In 2010, there were 2,967 miles driven (miles in billions). Man, we drive a lot! This resulted in 32,999 fatalities.
In 2021, we drove 3,230 miles (in billions). This is an increase of 8.86%. At least it only increased the fatalities by 30% to 42,915.
Yep, give me this AV stuff right now!
Peace and love.