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Wed May 22, 2019, 07:37 AM

Self-driving trucks begin mail delivery test for U.S. Postal Service

Remember, 10 years ago nobody had taken an Uber. This will hit faster than anybody thinks.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/self-driving-trucks-begin-mail-delivery-test-for-us-postal-service/ar-AABFUYG

The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight.

San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.

If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.

The pilot program involves five round trips, each totaling more than 2,100 miles (3,380 km) or around 45 hours of driving. It is unclear whether self-driving mail delivery will continue after the two-week pilot.

117 replies, 2112 views

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Reply Self-driving trucks begin mail delivery test for U.S. Postal Service (Original post)
Recursion May 22 OP
Blues Heron May 22 #1
Recursion May 22 #3
Turin_C3PO May 22 #4
Recursion May 22 #6
Turin_C3PO May 22 #8
Blues Heron May 22 #11
SamKnause May 22 #26
Recursion May 23 #30
Rambling Man May 23 #34
FBaggins May 23 #105
oregonjen May 23 #82
zipplewrath May 22 #14
Doodley May 23 #44
Kilgore May 22 #10
Blues Heron May 22 #13
Kilgore May 22 #29
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #64
Blues Heron May 23 #68
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #71
Doodley May 23 #69
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #72
Recursion May 24 #109
brush May 23 #85
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #94
brush May 23 #100
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #102
madville May 23 #106
Ilsa May 22 #2
Submariner May 22 #5
Ron Obvious May 22 #7
Sneederbunk May 22 #9
Baitball Blogger May 22 #12
Recursion May 22 #16
Baitball Blogger May 22 #17
Recursion May 23 #32
Baitball Blogger May 23 #33
Recursion May 24 #108
Baitball Blogger May 24 #111
Recursion May 24 #112
Baitball Blogger May 24 #113
lindysalsagal May 22 #19
Baitball Blogger May 22 #21
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #61
USALiberal May 23 #36
Baitball Blogger May 23 #39
USALiberal May 23 #41
Mrs. Ted Nancy May 22 #15
LineLineReply .
Baitball Blogger May 22 #18
Mrs. Ted Nancy May 22 #24
Baitball Blogger May 22 #25
SamKnause May 22 #28
TheBlackAdder May 22 #20
grantcart May 22 #22
TheBlackAdder May 22 #23
fescuerescue May 23 #87
TheBlackAdder May 23 #107
Doodley May 22 #27
Recursion May 23 #31
Rambling Man May 23 #35
USALiberal May 23 #38
Rambling Man May 23 #40
Doodley May 23 #45
USALiberal May 23 #46
Doodley May 23 #43
USALiberal May 23 #48
Doodley May 23 #52
USALiberal May 23 #58
Doodley May 23 #59
tonedevil May 23 #65
fescuerescue May 23 #88
USALiberal May 23 #37
Doodley May 23 #47
Kaleva May 23 #53
Doodley May 23 #56
Kaleva May 23 #60
Doodley May 23 #63
Kaleva May 23 #70
honest.abe May 23 #75
Doodley May 23 #80
fescuerescue May 23 #89
Doodley May 23 #95
fescuerescue May 23 #101
Amishman May 23 #42
Doodley May 23 #49
honest.abe May 23 #50
mr_lebowski May 23 #51
Doodley May 23 #54
honest.abe May 23 #55
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #62
honest.abe May 23 #67
fescuerescue May 23 #91
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #96
fescuerescue May 23 #103
Doodley May 23 #66
USALiberal May 23 #76
Doodley May 23 #81
Recursion May 24 #110
Doodley May 24 #114
Recursion May 24 #115
fescuerescue May 23 #90
honest.abe May 23 #57
USALiberal May 23 #74
honest.abe May 23 #78
Doodley May 23 #84
Owl May 23 #73
customerserviceguy May 23 #77
A HERETIC I AM May 23 #98
customerserviceguy May 25 #116
fescuerescue May 23 #92
TruckFump May 23 #79
cynatnite May 23 #83
Blue_Tires May 23 #86
Doodley May 23 #97
madville May 23 #93
Doodley May 23 #99
USALiberal May 23 #104
LineNew Reply !
appalachiablue May 26 #117

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:04 AM

1. Just hire some drivers FFS

We could use the work.

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:23 AM

3. Could we? The unemployment rate is literally as low as it's ever been

Most of the businesses I've worked with in the DC area are stalling expansion because they can't hire anybody.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #3)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:27 AM

4. Isn't it mostly low paying service jobs though?

That’s what it seems like around here at least.

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Response to Turin_C3PO (Reply #4)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:58 AM

6. No. The past 4 years have seen the largest wage increases on record also, for the bottom 40%

Seriously. This is a better economy even than the mid-to-late 1990s. Our problems are not economic.

Also service jobs pay on average more than manufacturing jobs.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:01 AM

8. That's good news then.

I admit that I’m not very well versed on economic issues.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:35 AM

11. this will eliminate jobs though - that's the purpose

it's the opposite of adding jobs.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:27 PM

26. Isn't this the result of some cities and states raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour?

I don't think employers have been giving raises.

The first year after the tax cut some companies gave a 1 time bonus.

They didn't raise wages and the bonus was a 1 time thing.

The cities and states that didn't raise their minimum wage, (which are the majority) are not feeling

better about the economy and their paychecks have not increased.

Looking forward to your input.

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Response to SamKnause (Reply #26)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:21 AM

30. Umm... when minimum wages get increased, employers have to give raises

That's kind of the whole point of doing it, right?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #30)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:13 AM

34. I remember when the minimum wage was $3.35

way back. I made $4.25 then.

I worked at a department store (big regional chain, one in every mall). Then the minimum wage went up to $4.25.

Asked my manager, "will I get a raise so I'm not making minimum wage?"

Their answer was "NOPE."

Hopefully times have changed.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #30)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:17 PM

105. They don't HAVE to give raises

If the higher price of labor makes replacing them with automation more affordable.

People advocating much higher minimum wages fail to recognize the simple truth that the minimum wage cannot really be set by legislation... it is ALWAYS zero.

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Response to Turin_C3PO (Reply #4)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:37 PM

82. In my area, it seems to be employers will not hire full time employees

Trying to avoid providing benefits, like health care, paid vacations, etc.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #3)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:46 AM

14. I'm always dubious about those claims

Our company is in a serious manpower shortage. We're trying to increase in size by about 40%, while in the middle of a serious "silver crisis" of roughly 50% of the work force being eligible to retire. I've been involved in many interviews with potential employees, and all but one I recommended for hire. Our current acceptance rate is about 1 in 7. I've also personally watched 3 of our best and brightest go out the front door. The reason is plain, we aren't paying enough (especially in a total compensation sense. Cuts to benefits have been going on for about 5 years). HR keeps selling the "we are having trouble finding qualified people" excuse. But it's just not true. We are having trouble finding qualified people TO ACCEPT OUR OFFERS, but we have no trouble finding qualified candidates.

I'm very suspicious of a business that avoids expansion because of a manpower problem. Generally they are either not seriously considering expansion, or they have a productivity problem.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #3)

Thu May 23, 2019, 11:49 AM

44. You don't think there will be another recession?

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #1)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:33 AM

10. Not that easy

We have 3 drivers positions open at scale pay almost all the time. Everyone is working.

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Response to Kilgore (Reply #10)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:37 AM

13. well lets get rid of the drivers then, they can do something else

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #13)

Wed May 22, 2019, 05:43 PM

29. I think that's the plan.

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #13)


Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #64)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:25 PM

68. It was supposed to be sarcasm, I want to keep humans behind the wheel!

Sorry for the miscommunication!

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #68)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:29 PM

71. Alright....fair enough.

Nuance is often DOA on a message board.

My apologies.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #64)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:27 PM

69. I stand with you. There needs to be more empathy for truck drivers.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #69)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:31 PM

72. I appreciate that.

FWIW, I haul US Mail these days, so this directly affects the trucking discipline with which I am aligned.

I hauled cars for ten years. Maybe I should get back into that. It's going to be a long bloody time before they are able to automate THAT segment of the transportation industry.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #69)

Fri May 24, 2019, 01:37 AM

109. Should we bring back switchboards? Typing pools? Human wheat threshers?

Hell, whoever decided to put a yoke on an ox put a whole lot of hand-plow workers out of a job

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #13)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:00 PM

85. Funny how that driverless truck has two attendants riding along.

Perhaps one of them will get out and actually unload the mail and deliver it.

The USPS, FEDEX and UPS trucks I see nowadays have one person operating it. What am I missing about this being a great advance?

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Response to brush (Reply #85)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:43 PM

94. One is the driver and the other is an engineer

A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.


Since it is a new program, the presence of an engineer shouldn't come as a surprise.

And FWIW, I do this exact same sort of work - driving trucks transporting US mail intercity and interstate. I physically handle the mail about 10% of the time. All of it is loaded into transport units that are on wheels or palletized.

One of the most common pieces of equipment looks like this, called a "GPC" or "General Purpose Container" ;


Note the yellow device with the round hole at the top. This is a hitch so several can be hooked together and pulled with an electric Tug. The opposite end has a small length of pipe of slightly smaller diameter that the round hole fits onto.

The Tug looks like this, though this is a brand new unit and most in current use are much older designs, but they look very similar;




Others include "BMC" (Bulk Mail Container), Wire baskets (Simply called "Wires" ) and Canvas Hampers.
Here's 3 of the primary and most common containers in one photo;



"CIN BMC" would stand for "Cincinnati Bulk Mail Center". If you look carefully at that aluminum container, you can see a handle that has a mechanism hanging straight down from the center of it, with a pin visible at the bottom. That is a locator pin which can be used in the Distribution and Sorting centers that have in-floor conveyors, basically a chain that runs just under the floor level that is accessible via a channel. The pin is dropped through the channel and a hitch will grab the pin and pull the container along to the various sorting stations it might need to go to.

The mail hauled in the trucks mentioned in the OP travel from one sorting center to another, and is then sorted for street delivery. More often than not, the driver either places the trailer against a doc and drops the trailer or places it in a numbered parking space and a yard jockey truck comes along and places it on a dock.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #94)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:03 PM

100. So what are you saying? You will be loosing your driving job?

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Response to brush (Reply #100)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:06 PM

102. I doubt seriously it will come to that before I kick the bucket, but I suppose it's possible.

:::: "Losing", BTW::::

There are something like 4 million OTR trucks in this country. I am pretty sure I have a bit of time left.

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Response to Blues Heron (Reply #1)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:24 PM

106. Doesn't pay enough

Most OTR company drivers only make between 50k-80k a year these days, not worth it to live in a truck and it's very dangerous.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:19 AM

2. One of the side stories of the tv series The Expanse is

that too much is automated and there aren't enough jobs for people born on Earth. And waiting lists for college or vocational training can be ten to thirty years long. The consequence is that people use drugs because their lives have no meaningful purpose.

I'd rather do without this delivery automation, too.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 08:46 AM

5. I'm waiting for the Los Angeles freeway car and truck chases on live TV

where the cops are chasing carjackers who see the self-driving car coming, so they hop in and steal the car to take to a chop shop to break it down for parts.

I'm sure in years t come Florida Man will be stealing these cars, or jumping in front of them for insurance scam purposes.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:01 AM

7. At least when they're shot up by Ice-T, nobody will be hurt. n/t

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:06 AM

9. Just like riderless horse in Preakness. No driver needed.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:36 AM

12. So, they're allowing driverless trucks to use the same roads we do?

What could possibly go wrong? For the sake of capitalism, we are just guinea pigs.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #12)

Wed May 22, 2019, 10:53 AM

16. Human drivers kill 30K per year

I don't think robots will do worse

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Response to Recursion (Reply #16)

Wed May 22, 2019, 11:06 AM

17. Lame.

You know when it happens, the lawsuit will bury the company.

On edit, not to mention that the number of human drivers far outnumbers the number of robotic drivers. So, even one death by robotic car will statistically exceed those of deaths by human drivers.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #17)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:12 AM

32. No, lawsuits don't bury companies when human drivers kill

No reason they should when robot drivers kill less frequently.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #32)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:09 AM

33. Disagree

Death by mechanical malpractice will take a steeper toll. The need to deliver packages cheaply when we have people out of work will not outweigh the public good.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #33)

Fri May 24, 2019, 01:30 AM

108. No, a much less steep toll

You do get that, right? Computers are better than us at driving cars already.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #108)

Fri May 24, 2019, 06:57 AM

111. It's not a perfect science as you know

There has been at least one casualty that I know of because the driverless car did not recognize the broad side of a semi. There was a volunteer passenger in that car. But I imagine that’s where this is going.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #111)

Fri May 24, 2019, 07:08 AM

112. It's like you are completely unaware that human drivers kill tens of thousands of people every year

Yes, it is imperfect. It's much much much less imperfect than human drivers.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #112)

Fri May 24, 2019, 07:38 AM

113. You are making an assumption based on a statistically insignificant number of driverless cars

versus the billions of cars that are driven by people, so no, I'm not convinced that it is safer...at this point.

It will probably get safer when the infra-structure is improved and the tweaks are corrected that will come up after every casualty. And there will be casualties. And if they mount, there will be backlash.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #12)

Wed May 22, 2019, 11:58 AM

19. I thought they were on their dedicated roads.

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Response to lindysalsagal (Reply #19)

Wed May 22, 2019, 12:31 PM

21. You would think so.

But, that would mean major infra-structure expense.

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Response to lindysalsagal (Reply #19)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:42 PM

61. They are.

It's called the Interstate System.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #12)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:20 AM

36. Lol.....short sighted......

Planes crashed a lot early in plane technology. People like you would of wanted people to stop working on planes.
Self driving cars are a inevitable and will be safer than human drivers.

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #36)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:39 AM

39. Planes had a number of places to do their test runs and crash without danger to life on the ground.

Driverless cars might be an inevitability, but you will have problems with acceptance as the casualties mount. I wouldn't want to be in your position of defending it, when that happens.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #39)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:53 AM

41. Google has tested millions of miles already. It will happen. Nt

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 09:47 AM

15. Where do these trucks get gas? nt

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Response to Mrs. Ted Nancy (Reply #15)

Wed May 22, 2019, 11:10 AM

18. .

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #18)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:13 PM

24. Oh my!!

How old is that picture?

He looks like the guy that used to live down the street from me. He didn't have a demon on his rig though.

Thanks for the laugh. 😊

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Response to Mrs. Ted Nancy (Reply #24)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:15 PM

25. It's from Stephen King's Maximum Drive,

where the vehicles take a life of their own.

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Response to Mrs. Ted Nancy (Reply #24)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:32 PM

28. It is Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen's son.

The photo is from a Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 12:07 PM

20. Socialize Expenses--Privatize Profits. Get the USPS to beta the technology: Incur lawsuits, Bad PR

.

Relieve private industry from the costs and negative PR of accidents as this technology is developed.

.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #20)

Wed May 22, 2019, 12:36 PM

22. I believe that doesn't apply here


The USPS is not operating the trucks, a private sub contractor is. They have the liability and I am sure that the USPS has an ironclad contract that absolves liability, whether with or without a driver.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #22)

Wed May 22, 2019, 12:42 PM

23. That's good. But even if a sub-contractor, news will say it was a USPS transportation truck.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #23)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:15 PM

87. The media doesn't determine liability

Courts do that.

It's very well established law the owner of the vehicle, be it a person or a corporation carries the liability.

No news reporter is going to change that.

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #87)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:48 PM

107. I know, but the media says, a robotic truck transporting USPS mail killed XX amount of people.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2019, 01:31 PM

27. This is a terrible idea. People will die. Jobs will be lost. Lives ruined.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #27)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:23 AM

31. Human drivers kill more people than automated cars will. Jobs will be lost

and replaced with higher-paying jobs.

Should we bring back switchboard jobs? Typing pools?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #31)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:16 AM

35. telephone switchboards and typing pools

were multi-ton vehicles barreling down the interstate?

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Response to Rambling Man (Reply #35)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:24 AM

38. Planes used to crash a lot. Think they should of stopped flying? Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #38)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:42 AM

40. Barrels used to make mayonnaise a lot. Think they should HAVE stopped spelunking?

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #38)

Thu May 23, 2019, 11:52 AM

45. The point is that the technology is not quite there yet and it is obvious.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #45)

Thu May 23, 2019, 11:53 AM

46. It will get there, no doubt. Nt

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Response to Recursion (Reply #31)

Thu May 23, 2019, 11:45 AM

43. You will eat your words. Sorry, but I am not supporting

throwing drivers on the scrapheap and rushing in technology too soon, that is both not necessary and not proven to be safe.

It was to be a new age, where tasks would become automated and we would only be working 20 hours a week maximum and able to pursue leisure and educational activities because we would have so much time, because the fruits of all this new technology would be shared among us. I was told that 40 years ago. It was BS and still is.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #43)

Thu May 23, 2019, 12:05 PM

48. Wow, you don't get it......

Waymo’s Robots Drove More Miles Than Everyone Else Combined

Self-driving cars promise to change cities, mint billionaires, and push robots into the everyday lives of millions of people. The only problem is, no one knows quite when or how. And with all the research and development locked up inside private companies, the public has little information to judge the progress of the technology, aside from the occasional PR reveal or disaster.

We have one (imperfect) yardstick, however: the numbers that the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires that any company testing an autonomous vehicle in the state file every month. Those are rolled up and released in January of each year. Though people in the industry don’t like what they see as the uneven comparisons between companies, this is the best we’ve got. The data include two primary numbers: the number of autonomous miles driven, which gives a rough indication of the scale of a program in the state, and the number of disengagements, or when a human driver takes over for the computer.

For every year of these disclosures, Waymo, the self-driving-car project within Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been the leader by a wide margin.

The year 2018 was no different. Waymo drove 1.2 million miles in the state, which is not even its primary testing ground. Its cars disengaged 114 times, for a rate of 0.09 disengagements per 1,000 miles. That’s down from 0.18 in 2017. GM Cruise cemented its position as the key challenger to Waymo supremacy, logging nearly 448,000 miles with 162 disengagements, for a rate of 0.19 per 1,000 miles, and that’s on San Francisco’s difficult streets, a fact that GM Cruise’s Kyle Vogt is fond of pointing out. Together, the two companies’ cars drove 86 percent of the autonomous miles in the state.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/02/the-latest-self-driving-car-statistics-from-california/582763/

I confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years… . Ever since, I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions.
— Wilbur Wright, in a speech to the Aero Club of France, 5 November 1908.

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #48)

Thu May 23, 2019, 12:59 PM

52. Frankly, that obviously isn't good enough. We need a lot more data.

To highlight the article that you posted:

the public has little information to judge the progress of the technology

We have one (imperfect) yardstick

Do you really believe there is enough data that shows that self-driving TRUCKS are safe enough at this moment in time that you would agree to let loose what is a lethal weapon on our highways?

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Response to Doodley (Reply #52)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:31 PM

58. Early passanger flights were risky also! Cars also. Get it yet? Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #58)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:39 PM

59. You seem to be agreeing this is risky?

I don't want to take unnecessary risks with human lives, do you?

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Response to Doodley (Reply #59)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:10 PM

65. I think we are taking unnecessary risks...

by having humans driving automobiles. Name a day in the past 100 years that there was not a fatal accident caused by a human driving an automobile.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #52)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:27 PM

88. The data so far is pretty good

Deaths in traditional vehicles is about 1.25 per 10 million miles.

There has been one death in driverless cars to date. Also to date driverless cars have logged about 8 million miles from Waymo alone. Just using the 8 million figure, and including the one death from Uber which was considered unavoidable even with a driver, the death rate is exactly the same.

Add in the miles logged by others (apple, Uber, Tesla etc) and even with the technology still in beta, they are already safer than you and I.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #27)

Thu May 23, 2019, 08:23 AM

37. 30,000 people die yearly by bad drivers. You cannot stop technology! Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #37)

Thu May 23, 2019, 11:54 AM

47. Two different issues. The issue is are self-driving trucks safe?

The answer at this point of time is no.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #47)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:13 PM

53. Neither are human operated vehicles.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #53)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:29 PM

56. Oh? So we don't need to worry about safety? It sounds

like the "people kill people, not guns" argument.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #56)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:40 PM

60. Where did I say such a thing?

Such an obvious use of a straw man fallacy which leads me to believe you really don't have an argument if you have to resort to such tactics.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #60)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:06 PM

63. It was a question to seek clarification of what you meant. Hence, the use of a question mark.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #63)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:29 PM

70. I thought my post was clear.

Human operated vehicles are not safe. My comment was a reply to one you made:

" The issue is are self-driving trucks safe?"

I don't think that's an issue because the number of deaths and injuries incurred in human operated vehicle accidents every year show that such vehicles are themselves not safe but we as a society are willing to accept a certain level of carnage on our roads and streets. We'll do the same with self driving trucks too.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #70)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:52 PM

75. I would rather we focus on improving human operated drivers.

Such as:

-- anyone caught drunk driving should lose their licenses
-- alcohol sensors in cars that wont allow the vehicle to start if driver fails breathalyzer test
-- more and better cameras
-- more avoidance sensors and better driver assist technology

"Computer Assisted Driving" is where we should heading not "Computer Driven Vehicles".

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #75)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:33 PM

80. Yes, systems could detect if one car was too close to another or if it was speeding, instantly

triggering fines or even points on the license. Suddenly, we would cut road deaths significantly.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #80)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:29 PM

89. Doesn't sound like the kind of society I would want

Leave the Police state and surveilance state is for the other guys.

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #89)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:47 PM

95. Ironic, as automated vehicles would be programmed to follow traffic rules. Seems strange that

getting in a self-driving vehicle that is controlled by a set of rules and will never break the speed limit or drive too close to the vehicle in front is fine, but it is "a police state" for drivers in non-automated vehicles to be subject to the enforcement of those same rules.

Driverless vehicles mean you completely give up any control on how it drives to a set of rules, but that isn't "a police state?"

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Response to Doodley (Reply #95)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:04 PM

101. I don't care if computer are programed to follow rules

they aren't sentient. I am.

btw, no one is yet advocating or even testing "giving up control". Any self driving car can be driven manually. Just like an aircraft has an optional auto-pilot.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 09:16 AM

42. Automation is coming and we need to be ready

You can't undo invention and you can't stop progress.

In countless ways we are on the brink of massive change to the la is market. Automation is quickly going to replace any jib that is menial and/or repetitive.

Amazon says entirely automated warehouses are 10 years away. There are just under a million warehouse jobs in the US.

Self driving trucks are coming, there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the US.

Cashiers are also threatened by self checkout kiosks. There are over 3 million cashiers in the US.

Just those three examples threaten 7.5 million jobs. That is 4.7% of the US workforce. Yes, new jibs will be created to support that automation; but there will be far fewer and they will require skills, education, and training that the displaced workers do not have. We are on the brink of massive structural unemployment. Many will go right from employed to unemployable as there will no longer be jobs for their skillset.

We struggle to support our current levels of homeless, poor, and needy Americans. We need to plan now for what is coming to avoid disaster.

I'm an IT contractor (BA or PM depending on the job), most of my work is in software design, configuration, and project management. My job is helping businesses automate other people's jobs. Believe me when I say this is going to happen.

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Response to Amishman (Reply #42)

Thu May 23, 2019, 12:11 PM

49. You are exactly right. What kind of society do we want?

Amazon will throw its workers on the scrapheap. It will employ very few people compared to revenue, pay no taxes, squeeze out any new competition, be the biggest retailer on earth, continue to shut down more book store and other retailers, and pay even more billions to its shareholders.

This is capitalism that is out of control that will result in human suffering, and every single one of us will pay the price.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 12:24 PM

50. All it takes will be one major malfunction and this technology will be set back years maybe decades.

Most people are not ready for this. Can you imagine seeing a huge driver-less truck barreling down the highway at 70 mph?

I am a software engineer and I love technology but automated vehicles scare me. There are just too many variables and exceptions and dangers. I dont think its ready for prime time.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #50)

Thu May 23, 2019, 12:44 PM

51. I foresee a lot of scenarios but one that feels fairly likely at some point ...

A barreling semi truck has a malfunction, doesn't recognize that a road or offramp or the like is closed for construction, decides to use that roadway and it's filled with dozens of construction workers and heavy equipment, and the thing ends up killing 20 people and causing a few $10M+ in damages ... pics of the carnage, crying relatives, etc, end up on the national evening news ...

And then bam ... all of the automated vehicles are ordered off the roads.

Personally I think they're going to turn out to be too complicated of machines to be reliable ENOUGH ... to ever allow them to be totally driverless, except maybe for some specific, simple routes.

Gotta remember these things are brand-new right now, and all under direct control of the companies that make the tech. Once this tech starts getting SOLD, to regular companies that don't necessarily have the same technological 'know-how' ... they're likely to start getting a lot less safe as they won't be maintained the same way as they are right now.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #51)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:19 PM

54. You are right. What if they hit ice? What if there's fog and an animal is on the road?

There is no evidence that the technology is there yet. Even a poster very much in favor on this thread reminds us that early flight was unsafe. Not a ringing endorsement!

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Response to Doodley (Reply #54)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:27 PM

55. Well in defense of this technology for sure it can see things on the road..

and will attempt to avoid them. In fact these systems probably see better that human eyes in most cases since they use something like radar. However it is the odd weird unexpected scenarios that worry me. Those happen frequently on busy roads and may confuse a self-driving vehicle. Also, I worry simply about a basic malfunction like the United 737 Max. The automation simply failed in those crashes. No doubt that will happen with these vehicles from time to time and when it happens hopefully there wont be people in the way.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #55)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:58 PM

62. Can you explain the mechanism by which a sensor on one of these trucks can detect this?



Is that road merely wet? Or ice?

Now I understand that there are wheel speed sensors, temperature sensors, etc., But you said "these systems probably see better that human eyes in most cases since they use something like radar", but no radar system in existence can tell the difference between a relatively harmless wet road and black ice.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #62)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:23 PM

67. I was talking about seeing objects.. yes ice and snow is another matter.

Im not sure how that will work. Here's an article from last year that discusses it. It sounds rather iffy.

https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/08/waymo-snow-navigation/

Maybe things have improved since then... I kind of doubt it.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #62)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:35 PM

91. IR can tell the difference

But my eyes cannot.

But a computer can be programed to slow down when the data in ambiguous. A human is taught to slow down. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they dont

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #91)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:54 PM

96. What about water on top of ice?

I understand that an infrared camera or detector can read temperature, but I'm just not sure the software currently is able to detect the complete array of conditions. I've seen it snow and turn to rain at chest level. The opposite condition - freezing rain, happens often in the winter, and the temperature can be in the high 30's.

I have no doubt that sooner or later autonomous trucks will be commonplace, don't get me wrong, but the way I see it, there needs to be a lot more standardization nationwide before these vehicles can be reliably safe everywhere.

Road marking on the interstate system are standardized, (otherwise your highway can't get the designation, from what I understand) but the processes and methods used to set up warning devices for construction zones is NOT standardized.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #96)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:09 PM

103. That might fool a computer

Just like it fools people today.

Todays benchmark is 1.25 deaths per 10 million miles. Waymo is currently at 8 million miles and no deaths. Add in the death in the Uber accident, without adding in Ubers miles and we are already at break in. I don't know about the data for fender benders but for the thing we worry about most (dying in traffic), the technology is looking extremely promising.

Totally agree on road markings btw. I also expect that the highways will be additionally marked with other RF type markings to give the computer FAR more road data than can be conveyed by the pictorial signs that we humans use today.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #55)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:14 PM

66. And we know how that panned out. Boeing knew there were problems. It tried to put profits first

by not acting to recall and fix the issue. It took two planes and hundreds of lives until it was forced to act, and the US government was slow to ground the planes. It turned out Boeing did its own inspecting on its own systems. And this is only based on what we know so far.

This is the standard that we can expect to be applied to self-driving trucks. Is there any reason to have confidence that this will go well?

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Response to Doodley (Reply #66)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:53 PM

76. Lol, air travel now is the safest time in USA history! Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #76)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:36 PM

81. Until one particular type of new technology was introduced.

Hundreds of planes have been grounded worldwide for a reason.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #81)

Fri May 24, 2019, 04:58 AM

110. And -- still -- air travel is safer than even 20 years ago (nt)

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Response to Recursion (Reply #110)

Fri May 24, 2019, 08:23 AM

114. Not for the planes that use that system. No it isn't. Repeat. That is why planes were grounded.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #114)

Fri May 24, 2019, 08:50 AM

115. Yeah it is, actually. Pilots need to know about the MCAS disabling switch. That's it.

The grounding isn't actually solving a problem at this point.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #54)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:33 PM

90. and IR camera can see an animal through fog

or ice on the road far far better than my visibile light eyes.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #51)

Thu May 23, 2019, 01:30 PM

57. Indeed.

I just feel this technology is being rushed. I suspect alot of this is being driven (no pun intended) by the stock market. Investors love this stuff so companies are pushing it to get a stock boost.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #50)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:51 PM

74. Yes, because early passanger planes never crashed! Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #74)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:58 PM

78. There was and still is no reasonable alternative to planes if we want to travel long distance..

in a short period of time. In this case, we really dont need this technology. It provides nothing critical that we don't already have.

Yes, perhaps someday it will be a safer alternative to what we have now but I dont think we are there yet.

I feel this technology is being forced on us by companies trying to generate buzz so their stock price goes up.

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Response to honest.abe (Reply #78)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:39 PM

84. I don't know how anyone could disagree with that.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:33 PM

73. So 2 people doing nothing, rather than 1 driver.

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Response to Owl (Reply #73)

Thu May 23, 2019, 02:56 PM

77. Just for the test

These things are coming, computing power is up to the point where it can anticipate and react to things many times more accurately than a human can.

This will exacerbate the division between prosperous urban and suburban areas and rural ones. The latter community is where truck drivers come from, predominately.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #77)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:02 PM

98. "The latter community is where truck drivers come from, predominately."

( "Rural communities" )

Really? I'm curious where you got that information.

The vast majority of truck drivers I have met in my 30 plus years in this industry weren't "rural". They lived in cities and towns.

There certainly are particular segments of this business that a significant number of drivers are from the country, like grain haulers, as an example ( because they live near their primary source of cargo), but to suggest that truck drivers come "predominately" from rural areas is inaccurate.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #98)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:24 PM

116. Just anecdotal

based on who I've met.

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Response to Owl (Reply #73)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:37 PM

92. On long distances? yes

The truck can run 24 hours a day. 2 people can run 22 hours (legally)

SO that's a 10% improvement right there.

Oh but the 2nd person? He's monitoring data in test mode. In production it'll be 1 person.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:04 PM

79. Oh, for joy.

Maybe the designers for Tesla can help them.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 03:38 PM

83. Europe has been running driverless trucks for some time...

Husband is a truck driver and he reads up on all of this regularly.

He's not too worried safety-wise. He sees actual truck drivers as more dangerous. The stories he's told has scared the crap out of me. It's the nature of the business.

Our big worry is that as technology improves, that some companies will see the benefit and will begin costing jobs. It's not likely to happen before retirement, but it is still a problem for the industry. Truck driver turnover is high. That lifestyle isn't for everyone. Trucking companies could be persuaded. It's more profit for them without a human driver in the seat. But, I don't expect it to get like that for several years.

I'm not worried about a self-driving truck mail delivery test at this point.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:06 PM

86. It's all fun and games until full automation takes our jobs away...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #86)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:59 PM

97. First they came for our neighbors and we did nothing. Then they came for our family and we did

nothing. Then they came for us and we really did nothing. We were all replaced by machines.

If they could program robots to become consumers, we would eventually all become human garbage left to rot as we would be no use at all to big business.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2019, 05:43 PM

93. Learn to repair them

Everything on a big truck breaks, this technology will also.

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Response to madville (Reply #93)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:02 PM

99. They can easily be fixed while emergency services clear up the wreckage and take the bodies away.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #99)

Thu May 23, 2019, 06:09 PM

104. But you are ok with 30,000 dead because of human drivers. nt

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2019, 11:42 PM

117. !

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