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Self-driving trucks begin mail
delivery test for U.S. Postal Service

Original Article

Posted By: NorthernDog, 5/21/2019 10:30:55 AM

The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight. San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat. If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible

Comments:

I still can't get my head around this. There are too many decisions to be made by a driver that cannot be anticipated or programmed in advance.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: droopydog 5/21/2019 10:53:44 AM (No. 68167)
Postal service...self driving truck...what could go wrong?
19 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: thethirdruffian 5/21/2019 11:00:45 AM (No. 68175)
One of the first jobs lost to driverless cars will be long haul truck drivers. Like a tug boat driver, local drivers will take over when they get into town.
0 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: zzzghy 5/21/2019 11:01:15 AM (No. 68177)
I drove one of these for a little while. All I can say is it's a good time to be a personal injury attorney if they keep this up. Wait until the rig ahead of Mr. Roboto hits a spot of black ice or swerves to avoid a drunk in the highway and tips over. Trainers will tell you to hit whatever is in front of you because swerving might result in tipping which might take out all the lanes. But a driver must make these decisions in a flash of a second depending on what he or she sees. The article seems to indicate over-regulation and a lack of drivers is fueling this madness. My suggestion is deregulate and make the trucking industry less crappy. I got out because I hated it and it wasn't the driving or the equipment. It was the hairless apes running the show. Fix that and I'd do it again.
10 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: bad-hair 5/21/2019 11:07:03 AM (No. 68182)
Step 1 … Wait and see how Tesla's autocar law suit turns out. Step 2 … Allow driverless 18 wheelers loaded to the gills as long as they follow a human, on foot, carrying two yellow flags. Step 3 Send your snail mail by FedexUPSetc. Because it might actually get there this year.
4 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Highlander 5/21/2019 11:07:54 AM (No. 68183)
"Hairless apes." I like that. I had a good career working for the county. I retired earlier than I wanted just because of the "hairless apes" in administration always looking over my shoulder.
5 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: DVC 5/21/2019 11:21:12 AM (No. 68194)
The sensors are unable to reliably identify obstacles, the computers have something less than the computational power of a cockroach, and the software is guaranteed to have lots and lots of bugs. There is a guarantee of job losses and an extremely high, nearly certain, risk that they will maim or kill people. This is a very bad idea. At work we spent a great deal of money and time trying to develop an extremely simple robotic system to look into a box of parts, all of them identical, but randomly oriented, so an extremely simplified, controlled problem, and reach in, identify a part, grasp it, orient it correctly and place it into a fixture for the next machining operation. Seems really simple, right? Literally something any 6 year old could be taught to do in about 1 minute. Machine "vision" and image interpretation is so lame, crude and pathetic that it became very clear that this extremely simple job was beyond the capabilities of a robot, computer and a vision system. And yet they want to have it deal with an infinite variety of possible road configurations, movable and moving obstacles like people, children, cars, bicycles, pets, windblown items, wild animals and come up with near perfect outcomes, in milliseconds figure out what to do to get the job done while keeping property and humans and pets safe. They have already killed people with their self driving cars, and yet they insist on this stupid parlor trick. I worked in advanced engineering development for my entire career, including computer programming and R&D. This is dangerous folly and people will die. And the promises of "there will be a person to take over" are total BS. A person in that situation, with no need to actually drive, will become bored and attention will wander in a few minutes. When the need to take over in a fraction of a second comes up, the human will be distracted, and unable to react quickly enough to be of any value.
15 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: jalo1951 5/21/2019 11:30:30 AM (No. 68198)
OK, help me out here. A self driving truck with an human to intervene if necessary and an engineer will also tag along. So you have bought a more expensive truck that requires two people. Just buy the cheaper vehicle and pay someone to drive it where it needs to go. Am I the only one who thinks this is just stupid? But then again it is the PO.
11 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: FL_Absentee_Voter 5/21/2019 11:50:04 AM (No. 68209)
#6 is correct in so many ways. I work in the military high-tech industry and the hardware/software reliabilty needed to make the concept of autonomous vehicles operating across the nation's highways and city streets even remotely safe is prohibitively expensive. And that doesn't include the follow-on costs for maintenance (called "sustainment" in the biz), of which there will need to be plenty. Allow any of the electronics to derate or code to become corrupted and the result is going to be bad. And when these vehicles start crowding the roads we'll discover that they'll need to be hardened to keep from interfering with each other. But it will all be accepted as merely the price to pay for cool progress, just as giving up your privacy to who-knows-whom in order to share your baby photos with people who really don't care is no big deal.
3 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Smart11344 5/21/2019 12:00:02 PM (No. 68219)
I am old. Perhaps I am stupid, too. Given the rotten service by the post office, I don't want any self driving truck by ANY company on the road. Ask Boeing about the flaws in their airplanes that were grounded.
7 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: velirotta 5/21/2019 12:19:37 PM (No. 68243)
If saving money is the big issue here, driverless looks like a disaster in the making. In more human terms, why are our industrial giants steadily removing opportunities for honest, hard-working people to make an honest living? Out here in eastern Oregon's ranch country, cutting and stacking hay used to be a big community effort. Even high-school kids spent part of the summer working in the fields, mowing and raking, baling or loose-stacking hay. One big ranch had 30 men working all summer. Last summer I saw big, expensive swathers clear several hundred acres of good hay in one afternoon; three men did the whole job. The high-school kids wandered around town like zombies with text-necks, looking at their phones. This is progress? A while back I saw a news story about an automobile assembly line--a whole factory operated by six technicians, where 3,500 men used to be employed. This is progress?
3 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Chabis 5/21/2019 12:23:37 PM (No. 68246)
But how do you teach a truck how to be surly?
1 person likes this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: DVC 5/21/2019 12:55:54 PM (No. 68266)
#9, the flaws in the 737 Max were in a system designed to decrease pilot workload, more automation.
1 person likes this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: DVC 5/21/2019 1:07:45 PM (No. 68273)
#10, some of it is a lack of young people, and extreme laziness in the ones we have. We have not replaced ourselves with children and we have let the ones we have become fat, lazy and uninterested in jobs other than office jobs pushing buttons on a keypad, and expecting a high salary for it.
1 person likes this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: whyyeseyec 5/21/2019 1:40:53 PM (No. 68285)
When a vehicle is programmed to go from Point A to Point B and an unexpected detour arises during the trip, what does the vehicle do?
1 person likes this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: DVC 5/21/2019 3:02:45 PM (No. 68336)
Actually, the detour problem isn't too serious, if you have a GPS nav system, they all have a "detour" button which finds an alternate route pretty quickly. The problem of driving over people, other cars, pets and such is far more serious. And, let's assume that they Do manage to come up with an absolutely perfect autonomous vehicle. (Highly questionable assumption) - how long before the left forward optical sensor system goes haywire and it starts hitting things on that quadrant? And who will fix it? And who will certify that it is safe after the alleged repair? How many people have to die or be maimed by malfunctioning vehicles? Dangerous, irresponsible idea.
1 person likes this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: mc squared 5/21/2019 3:32:55 PM (No. 68358)
I was speaking with my insurance agent just last week about responsibility for damage and death caused by driverless vehicles. She didn'r know where to begin as the answers aren't out there yet. Here comes the US Government in the form of the Postal Service to answer the question. Who is responsible? NO ONE - it's the government. Sue them
1 person likes this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: bad-hair 5/21/2019 3:54:16 PM (No. 68366)
#12 The flaws in the 737MAX were design flaws brought about by trying to make a physical structure that couldn't work WORK. With software fixes that didn't work. You can make the software keep it up in the air for a while but ultimately IT DOESN'T FLY. Chuck the new engines, your last &#& was as good as they get.
1 person likes this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: DVC 5/21/2019 9:00:15 PM (No. 68490)
#17, no question that the larger engines on the Max caused some potential issues, the system was reportedly optional, not needed to meet certification standards, but to try to lower the pilot workload in a takeoff situation. The root cause was a broken sensor (possibly damaged in a bird strike) giving false data to this system. The correct action was, like any runaway trim situation, to turn off the system. This was done, on that same aircraft, the day before and no control problems were encountered. Then the airlines maintenance department failed to correct the failed angle of attack sensor. (serious error #1) On the second try, with a failed sensor, the pilot did eventually (quite late, apparently) figure out to turn off the system. At that point, he was way, way deep into trouble, and was unable to recover. (serious error #2, possibly still salvageable, but maybe not) And his tardy action had gotten the speed to the point that the manual trim was very stiff, so he turned the FAILED system back on. This sealed his fate. (serious error #3) I know several current 737 pilots who say they would have had no problems with this emergency, and would fly the aircraft tomorrow. Ultimately, a failed part, an incompetent maintenance department, and an unskilled pilot. The usual "it takes three failures to crash an airliner" situation. Insufficient idiot-proofing, because they keep coming up with better and better idiots, esp in 3rd world countries.
2 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623 5/22/2019 12:28:10 AM (No. 68549)
Well, one positive is it will have a better personality than my mail person. Why are we talking to each other now ? Miss L change the rules ?
0 people like this.

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