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Comment It will happen in stages (Score 1) 615 615

It seems like the first and most obvious step for the trucking industry is to replace trucks on the long haul only. For example, one driver might drive the truck to the highway onramp and send it on its way, then the truck drives itself for hours and hours to where it is at an offramp by another driver who takes it to its final destination.

Self-driving will certainly reduce the work available for truckers, but it will be a really long time before it eliminates them. Tractor trailers are not only difficult to maneuver, but often require very difficult maneuvers to park where they can be unloaded or unhitched. One way to look at it is that, in the near future, the computers will just be handling the boring part of the drive.

And automation does promise to reduce accidents significantly, and it can seriously reduce fuel use (and pollution) by allowing lines of trucks to coordinate their movements tightly, staying close to each other's slip streams. And self-driving trucks will certainly be more patient with each other--as in less likely to block traffic with a +2mph pass of another truck while going uphill--because they won't require such stringent timelines, which will make the roads a better place for everyone.

Comment A little of this, a little of that. (Score 5, Interesting) 429 429

I technically qualify as an 'older developer,' though not old enough to embrace the title personally. On several occasions, I've worked with teams (as a contractor) made entirely of 'age-challenged' developers, and I'm always amazed to get kudos for saying things I consider obvious. Obvious, I suppose, because I have the experience the young'un do not, and experience does help.

While I'm sure that I have all sorts of limitations I'm not aware of, like I probably smell funny or maybe don't know why Euphoria is the most awesome programming language _ever_, or simply can't hold my own on the foosball table, I think that toddler teams should have at least one elder mentor onboard--someone whose been through the ringer a few times--because we do know stuff that you'll only realize you didn't know after we say it, and we tend to be pretty grounded, which helps if you're trying to do things like, I don't know, make money.

Just don't let us pick the music for the office hi-fi.

Comment That'll show those upper-middle-class types. (Score 1) 197 197

Without Telsa, who will compete with West Virginia's single BMW dealership!?! I guess anyone interested in the $70k luxury sedan range will have to drive the extra 56 miles to Ashland, KY if they want the full range of options. I sure hope they can afford the gas...

Comment The news isn't that it's been created... (Score 5, Informative) 172 172

We already knew it existed, as reported on Slashdot back in May of 2012:
http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/05/23/2240213/mit-creates-superhydrophobic-condiment-bottles

The news here is that it's finally being commercialized.

Comment Long range outlook: batteries or fuel cells? (Score 2) 229 229

Right now, based on current technology, American companies are developing battery-powered electric cars, while Japanese are introducing those based on fuel cells. Over the long range, say in ten or twenty years, do you see one technology overtaking the other?

Comment Sure it's a publicity stunt, but... (Score 1) 132 132

Yes, Delphi, an basically unknown in the self-driving world, is trying to make a big splash by doing something that appears monumental while perhaps not actually making much of a leap forward in the technology. But out in most of America, self-driving cars are still pretty controversial. Accomplishments like this, assuming they pull it off, can make huge political advances.

And I don't know about you, but I'll be mighty frustrated if, when the technology arrives, we're stuck waiting on the legal system.

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

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