Author Topic: Self-Driving Trucks: Will They Disrupt Railroads  (Read 8499 times)

Liberty

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Re: Self-Driving Trucks: Will They Disrupt Railroads
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2019, 08:15:14 AM »
Good interview with the founder of Cruise (who also co-founded Twitch):

https://overcast.fm/+OcVfXZr6o
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | This podcast episode is a must-listen


Jurgis

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Cigarbutt

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Re: Self-Driving Trucks: Will They Disrupt Railroads
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2019, 06:01:05 AM »
https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/10/a-self-driving-truck-delivered-butter-from-california-to-pennsylvania-in-three-days/
Thanks for the article. I hate driving and can't wait for the autonomous solution but fail to build enthusiasm for the driverless solution, as exemplified by your link, as a revolution. It seems evolutionary, at best.

It is ironic that butter is chosen in this efficiency maximizing example. Looking back at the true revolution that railroads (especially its network and transcontinental aspect) brought with them, in terms of the food supply and distribution chain, people's lives were truly and deeply changed. Ordinary people could get a relatively affordable array of food items (including from California) and the radical change of diet and the food industry dynamics on American soil that happened then has only been marginally improved since. What the link is suggesting is that there could be cost savings by reducing employee expense and by bringing down delivery time from about three days to about 42 to 44 hours (also the possibility of reduced road accidents?).

I have watched and have been impressed with (and have made money investing in third party logistics operators) the evolution of the food supply chain logistics in the US and a reasonable criticism of the article is that it would have been simpler for the producer to send butter from their Ohio operation or to establish a production facility in the state that has the #1 spot for dairy production (Wisconsin) and which is much closer than Tulare, California. Also, the butter industry now 1-is based on over-leveraged producers of raw material (in part because of ultra-low and suppressed interest rates), 2-continues to survive in the present truncated form (with many unintended consequences, including the possibility that it makes 'economic' sense to transport a perishable and undifferentiated product across a continent) because of heavy subsidies to compensate for the fact that the end product is sold below cost, 3-does not into account the potentially significant externality on the environment related to unnecessary movement of products across long distances due to poorly designed incentives and 4-suffers from a hostile global trade environment whereby producers ask for (and obtain) government help (very similar exchanges were recorded between the 'industry' and Congressman Hawley (that one) when it was felt that duties were necessary to protect the butter incumbents from dangerous countries such as New Zealand and Denmark who apparently had lower costs of productions {and shipping}). I understand that the government subsidizes research and various pilot projects for the autonomous flow of vehicles and that may be appropriate but it needs to be said that they now also manage the cheese industry and have to store enormous amounts in government warehouses, only to periodically redistribute some of it in a free lunch kind of way when molds start to grow, suggesting that the elected officials may not always attribute 'excess' funds wisely.

Finally, the consumption of butter (produced in California or otherwise) has grown at a higher rate than inflation or GDP (it has grown in fact at a similar rate than the S&P 500) and this is not necessarily a healthy phenomenon even if your diet is ketogenic.

Sorry for this ranty post in this period of the year. The CEO of my household just asked me to get some butter at the grocery (we are hosting an after-Christmas brunch). I wish that a self-driving option were available.  :) Happy Holidays Jurgis.

https://www.swdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/DC-Railways-and-Food-LRSP_compressed.pdf
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Livestock_Cold_Storage/butter.php

Jurgis

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Re: Self-Driving Trucks: Will They Disrupt Railroads
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2019, 12:59:28 PM »
The CEO of my household just asked me to get some butter at the grocery (we are hosting an after-Christmas brunch). I wish that a self-driving option were available.  :) Happy Holidays Jurgis.

Here is the Cigarbutt we love.  8)

You know what side your bread is buttered on.  ;)
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
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