Robert Maxwell wrote:
I don't think drivers help unload, though. There are people at the endpoint who do that.
A warehouse near me, Wood Fruitticher, has its drivers unload even long trailers all day long by themselves. It takes a whole warehouse crew to load it (perhaps replaced by KIVA systems one day)--but the rate of the poor drivers who get hurt having to drive and unload it during the day is just sad.
Ironically, the jobs that need the automated the most may not be.
Warehouses employ a lot of people doing monotonous work, and KIVA could replace that.
But the poor truck driver has to go out in the field, well away from flat, gridded, robot friendly warehouses. He may have to go up stairs, do complex tasks humanoid robots are decades away from doing well, etc.
The truck may well drive itself, and not have to do worry about being improperly loaded due to lazy workers. But it is the worst part of the task that the human still has to do--the situation-variant fuzzy logic stuff.
The driver enjoys driving, but not the backbreaking work. So the robot hasn't really done him much good. In gridded city streets, with smaller vans, maybe you can get away with a little more.
Still, the driverless system is safer, and less safe, due to lack of interest in its field of view. It is made to scan the road, not watch children play as they pursue a ball between two parked cars which may block a sensor. Yes there are some pedestrian avoidance measures.
Now I have seen visuals of intersections where there are no lights, and the car streams pass through each other. But if an engine stumbles, that could through the timing off just enough to cause a crash. On an interstate, drafting saves energy, the cars would have to communicate to keep the timing up, but that shouldn't be a problem.
Off road variables will still pose some problems. It is still easier to fly than drive.