The next army of American workers who will be automated out of existence are truckdrivers


AP Photo/Tony Avelar

❝ Carmaking giants and ride-sharing upstarts racing to put autonomous vehicles on the road are dead set on replacing drivers, and that includes truckers. Trucks without human hands at the wheel could be on American roads within a decade, say analysts and industry executives.

At risk is one of the most common jobs in many states, and one of the last remaining careers that offer middle-class pay to those without a college degree. There are 1.7 million truckers in America, and another 1.7 million drivers of taxis, buses and delivery vehicles. That compares with 4.1 million construction workers.

❝ While factory jobs have gushed out of the country over the last decade, trucking has grown and pay has risen. Truckers make $42,500 per year on average, putting them firmly in the middle class.

❝ On Sept. 20, the Obama administration put its weight behind automated driving, for the first time releasing federal guidelines for the systems. About a dozen states already created laws that allow for the testing of self-driving vehicles. But the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will ultimately have to set rules to safely accommodate 80,000-pound autonomous trucks on U.S. highways.

In doing so, the feds have placed a bet that driverless cars and trucks will save lives. But autonomous big rigs, taxis and Ubers also promise to lower the cost of travel and transporting goods…

Trucking will likely be the first type of driving to be fully automated – meaning there’s no one at the wheel. One reason is that long-haul big rigs spend most of their time on highways, which are the easiest roads to navigate without human intervention.

But there’s also a sweeter financial incentive for automating trucks. Trucking is a $700-billion industry, in which a third of costs go to compensating drivers.

Decent, well-written article. You should read it. In most states, the number 1 or number 2 job category is truck driving. Probably half of those drivers are working over-the-road. Gonna be a lot of unhappy unemployed truck drivers, say, before the 2028 presidential elections.

3 thoughts on “The next army of American workers who will be automated out of existence are truckdrivers

  1. Roomba says:

    “Analysis finds autonomous trucks that drive in packs could save time and fuel” (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “…for truck-driving — particularly over long distances — most of a truck’s fuel is spent on trying to overcome aerodynamic drag, that is, to push the truck through the surrounding air. Scientists have previously calculated that if several trucks were to drive just a few meters apart, one behind the other, those in the middle should experience less drag, saving fuel by as much as 20 percent, while the last truck should save 15 percent — slightly less, due to air currents that drag behind.”

  2. Working stiff says:

    In an in-depth investigation by USA Today, which relied on accounts from more than 300 drivers, reporter Brett Murphy described a horrific arrangement in which workers, even after putting in grueling hours, sometimes owe their employers money at the end of their pay periods.
    That’s because employers force the truckers—who move more than half of the United States’ container imports out of LA ports—to finance their own trucks, buy their own gas, or even pay to use the company parking lot, and deduct those fees each week from drivers’ paychecks. Companies force drivers to work up to 20 hours a day by threatening to take away the trucks—and the money drivers have paid toward them.
    This setup demonstrates the worst that can happen when companies falsely designate their workers as “independent contractors” in order to avoid labor protections. https://qz.com/1011272/the-worst-jobs-in-america-are-getting-worse-thanks-to-a-loophole-in-us-laws/

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