Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forget the driverless car ...

"Project Sartre (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), Europe's experiment with 'vehicle platooning,' which has successfully completed a 125 mile road test on a busy Spain motorway. Three Volvos drove themselves by automatically following a truck in the presence of other, normal road users. The Register reports that on-board cameras, radar and laser tracking allow each vehicle to monitor the one in front, and wirelessly streamed data from the lead vehicle tells each car when to accelerate, break and turn." - slashdot
It's not the driverless car that stands to make some money.  It's the driverless truck.  The most expensive part of the truck is the driver and his paycheck, breaks, insurnace, training, and Teamster affiliations; the most restrictive part is the 10 hours of driving time per day, and the limitations of total time behind the wheel.

Now imagine getting rid of that driver in four out of five trucks (so far, the lead truck needs a driver and the rest follow).

Suddenly, you have a vehicle that can drive 24/7 if the lead driver changes or trades off with a partner. It doesn't get tired and it stops only to refuel. You don't have to pay for a person.  Trucking companies will cut expenses by 40%.

Let the scare-mongering begin !


  1. This is precisely what Frederic Bastiat wrote about in his seminal work "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Unseen". The loss of some jobs are immediately apparent. What is not immediately apparent is what happens with every other business once they suddenly have more money to spend on other things. The result, of course, is a net increase in jobs and productivity. The vested interests, however, will want nothing to do with it.

  2. This technology already exists, it is called a train.