Nowhere in this article does it mention the systematic policy attack on truckers. Extreme restrictions on truckers’ flexibility over when to drive has crushed productivity–rising wages or line-hauls won’t make up for having to spend more hours idle for every delivery. Demand for truckers is going up not only as demand for transportation has increased but also as each trucker is forced to be less productive, an effect that compounds the shortage of drivers by causing truckers who can’t make a living to exit the industry resulting in even fewer trucker-hours to meet rising demand.
I have seen the momentum toward autonomous trucking accelerating past that for passenger cars since the company Otto was created by some well-connected tech folks to retrofit existing trucks with self-driving technology–that’s a sign of a short timeline IMO.
This WSJ article is portraying the undersupply of truckers as an unfortunate market failure–watch out for future articles that build on this underlying false assumption to argue that we have no choice but to adapt infrastructure to self-driving trucks in a hurry.
Of course, those who pay the freight will love such a subsidy allowing them to switch to a government-subsidized technology rather than compensate for government-implemented productivity crushing policies with higher wages. My guess is they are all in this together. Similarly, the uber-lyft model does not work without self-driving technology. Billions upon billions of dollars have been pumped into these businesses for years by very smart people–surely they know driverless is coming despite the tremendous cost and disruption it will visit upon taxpayers and laborers alike.
Maybe I’m wrong, but the way this article deliberately ignores the real problem with declining trucker supply makes me wonder, Why even write the article? Obviously, there’s some agenda at work. We will see what it is. #WTWOF
The U.S. freight market is speeding ahead, but recruiting new truck drivers to meet demand is proving harder to rev up.