Automation (Danner 2018)

“Self-driving trucks is not a one-and-done process. Like all automation of critical systems, especially those where human safety is involved, will develop in degrees. One of the first models of self-driving trucks is the so-called platooning system. In platooning a lead truck is manned by a human driver. Behind the driver a train of between four and six driverless trucks follows closely, perhaps within a few feet, all of which are coordinated in real time using a wireless network. Platooning not only cuts down on drivers per unit load delivered, but also reduces traffic congestion because of the tight spacing. It also allows the train of follower trucks to ride on the air draft effect from the lead truck, resulting in considerable fuel savings. It has been said that platooning trains could bring trucks competitive dollar-for-dollar with railroads, which would be an incredible feat. The next model to emerge might also be the Bar Pilot model. Since high-way travel is relatively safer and more controllable than local roads, the self-driving truck handles the long haul portion of the journey, while human drivers navigate the truck for the first and last miles of the journey, enabling one human driver to spread across many different deliveries” (Danner, Automation, 2018:17)

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Cosimo Accoto

Connection Science Fellow at MIT | Author "Il Mondo Dato" (Egea) | Philosopher in Residence | Business Innovation Advisor |