According to Wikipedia
All those men and women, working quietly, almost invisibly plying the roads and highways of the country to get your ice cream, flat screens and blue jeans to stores.
The trucking and logistics companies that employ these drivers must be positively salivating at the prospect of firing 1.8 million truck drivers that can each earn potentially $50-70,000 per year with owner-operators earning close to six figures after expenses. Truck drivers that can only legally drive N hours before Y hours DOT mandated down time. Truck drivers that fall asleep, fiddle with the radio, talk on the phone, and through statistically unavoidable human error cause terrible accidents. And this is what the industry will sell America when explaining why they are causing one of the single largest layoffs in American history, throwing the economy into recession as a significant percentage of the American workforce finds themselves unemployed at ages, and without skills allowing ready transition to other employment.
No, it will be about "improving highway safety" and "relieving workers from the tedium of bad jobs." What!? You claim this is about saving money? No salaries, no benefits, and we can run twice as much freight in the same time period because the automated trucks never have to sleep? Why, of COURSE NOT. This is about SAFETY, folks!
The large companies that already run hundreds or thousands of trucks will fire all their drivers. The most successful automation systems will be those that can be readily retrofitted to the existing livery of tractors. They will add additional fuel tanks to the trucks to extend their range. A network of terminals and warehouses will spring up around the major interstates. Trucks will platoon two meters apart at 50 miles per hour for maximum fuel economy and drive non stop on Interstates criss-crossing the country, only pulling off into freight yards in the countryside to drop their trailer, where a human driver will do the last-50-mile delivery to the customer. These last mile delivery truck drivers will become lower paid, poor or no benefit package monkeys earning a fraction of the salary that current OTR Over The Road drivers are paid now.
The problem gentle reader isn't that technology is causing jobs to be replaced by automation, but the PACE of technology replacing jobs by automation is increasing far faster than society seems capable of finding new avenues for those affected to support themselves in comparable, meaningful and fulfilling work.
The President will go on TV to announce a toothless jobs bill earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars for terminated drivers to attend community college to retrain for "exciting careers as solar panel installers!" when most will, in all likelihood, end up working minimum wage jobs at the nearest Autozone parts counter.
Capitalism the Machine(tm) will not stop until absolutely everyone in the United States sits in a cubicle 10 hours a day pushing pixels in Microsoft Office 2035 and all industry and service work has been replaced by foreign manufacturing, robots or exploited immigrants.
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