Ex-Google Engineers Launch “Otto”: Completely Driverless Truck Testing Underway | MishTalk
. . . all in a single Mish post!
The Self Drive Truck, and Self Drive Train
First the self drive trucks will come, and as Mish says sooner than we are expecting.
"I have been sharing emails with reader “Vooch” for a few weeks. He thinks autonomous trucking will happen by 2018. I thought he was a little early, citing a need for enough trucking hubs.
Vooch pointed out eleven national Truck Stop Chains noting “Flying J has 550 locations.”
Otto precisely fits in with the hub solution I proposed several years ago.
Drivers take trucks from the warehouse to the hub. The truck drives itself to the next hub. Then a short-haul driver takes the truck the last mile.
With today’s report, I bump up my timeline for this to happen by a year, from 2020 to 2019. I also bump up my forecast from 2024 to 2022 as to when millions of long-haul trucking jobs vanish."
Agreed. This technology especially for commercial applications will be a game changer.
"Lior Ron: Because of federal regulations, a truck can only drive 11 hours a day today with a single driver. After 10 hours, the accident rate goes exponentially higher. If we can make it drive safely 24/7, more than doubling its capacity and utilization, that’s a very strong financial argument."
Asset utilization here is incredible, before the company was faced with paying two drivers to maximize the vehicle use. After Otto, there is no reason the asset cannot be utilized approximately 100% of the time outside of time for fueling, maintenance, and a few other events. All that is needed for this to be a complete solution is to combine Otto with three other solutions, the truck hub, the “Nikola One” First-Ever 2000 horsepower (HP) Electric Class 8 Semi-Truck for short haul over the first and last miles, and the self drive train Germany Will Add Self-Driving Vehicles to Its Railroad Network.
The Nikola One will allow the truck fleet companies to move the shipping containers/trailers to a central highway/rail hub. From there the choice will be made to ship the container/trailer either by self drive train, or Otto. This will likely be driven by the accessibility of rail at the final destination, shipping time by rail/truck, and a few other calculations. Once at the final destination, a Nikola One will pickup the load for last mile delivery. Truckers will continue to exist for a while, but they will become short haul drivers.
I suspect this will cause most shipping containers/trailers to be reconfigured to become the most efficient, and the new self drive trucks will likely be configured to ensure they meet these most efficient standards. This is because with driver, the loads needed to be a large as possible, without, they simply do not. Smaller highly efficient trucks hauling smaller, lighter loads will likely result in lower highway wear, and lower taxes. Efficiency will become king in the transportation industry, lowering costs even more once the self drive truck, and train revolution finally takes full hold.
The Gig Economy
Buried within the story is a very interesting nugget. "Lior Ron: We have the basic technology in place and are already testing it on public roads. We want to demonstrate a cargo route in the foreseeable future, to show that our technology is commercially viable. We are fully funded by employees, who came together to enjoy this and get there as soon as possible. The approach and the team we put together have the ability to do that very fast."
The business is fully funded by employees. Apparently, Otto is moving the gig economy concept from independent contractor service providers to a tangible product company. Here the employees have a significant financial tie to the success of the company. I expect this kind of thing to continue, and accelerate, converting ever more companies from large integrated businesses to smaller employee owned specialty companies. This could be a corporate accounting, and bookkeeping division which leaves but retains the companies accounting/bookkeeping business, to small specialty companies like Otto.
I fully expect the gig economy to slowly begin breaking down large integrated corporations and replacing them with tiny corporation units which are dependent on gig economy subcontractor companies to provide services, and products. I believe we are beginning an age of de-bureaucratization of business, government, and all other entities.
Click through and read the inane comments made by men of trivial mind about why the self drive concept just won't work. Malthusian Luddites are fun to read, if only because they make the reader feel so much smarter. If this is the anti-self drive brain trust, it's "full steam ahead!"