If it’s a driverless truck, why does it need a sleeper berth?

September 2, 2020

Wendy Parker

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driverless
driv·er·less
/ˈdrīvərləs/ adjective
1. (of a vehicle) capable of traveling without input from a human operator, by means of computer systems working in conjunction with on-board sensors.

2. lacking a driver

 

Waymo has announced they will begin operating their magical trucks out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area very soon. They, and a plethora of other “autonomous” trucking companies, are rushing to The D to misinform the public about their actual abilities.

Or something like that.

If all these trucks are “driverless” why the hell do they have a sleeper berth?

Oh, wait. You’re not supposed to ask that question. These companies are counting on a poorly informed general public that doesn’t ask questions like that. Shame on me. Actually, shame on Tyson Fisher because he’s the one who brought it up in a conversation about a recent news story touting “driverless” trucks.

I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t delighted with the opportunity to once again blast the hoo-hoo regarding said subject being laid down by mainstream media like a carpet of chicken dung on a farm field.

Psst. Here’s the scoop. These trucks are not driverless. In fact, a number of them require two operators (one in the driver’s seat and one riding shotgun) to oversee the computers used to assist in “driving” the truck. They have a sleeper berth because they have a driver. Which makes them definitely NOT driverless.

Look, I have nothing against technology. What I disagree with is the constant, never-ending assertion that “driverless trucks” are on the road. Because that is a wholly and completely untrue statement.

There is no such thing as a commercial truck that doesn’t need at least one human being inside of it to complete a trip. Which is what “driverless” means in its truest definition.

Is the technology they’re developing helpful?

Absolutely. An enormous amount of safety features have come directly from their efforts.

Will there ever be real, honest-to-Pete driverless trucks on the highways?

Probably not before my 52-year-old rear end has left the mortal coil.

If you’ll notice, the companies are using routes that are, for the most part, straight shots on open highways. The technology is in its infancy at best, and our infrastructure is difficult enough for a human being to navigate.

The bombed-out strips of asphalt some people call “interstates” pose a significant obstacle for current technology. Until the infrastructure improves immensely, this technology will continue to struggle.

Why do news outlets continue to hoot and holler the driverless claim?

Because they don’t know any better. Plain and simple. They read news releases to form the “news” they present from spoon-fed information issued to them by companies desperately needing to keep gabillions of dollars in investment money flowing so they can continue the path toward true autonomy.

And that there is the real story behind “driverless vehicle” headlines.

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.