There have been numerous articles in trade publications, in the transportation sector, about autonomous over-the-road trucks. In the future these 18-wheelers will drive in giant convoys through the middle of the night on most major interstates without drivers or supervision saving the logistics system 10s of billions of dollars per year. Great news for the cost of everything we buy, sell or trade, although not so good for truck drivers and truck driver unions.
In fact, in Europe several large truck manufacturers have already tested long convoys on their major highways 100s of miles at a time with no incidents. Just as Google is proving the worth of self-driving cars the Europeans are doing it with self-driving trucks. You can expect this technology to get better and for soon we will find large trucking companies optimally utilizing this technology for interstate and intra-state cargo. Indeed, due to the hostility of truck driver unions we can expect this technology to grow faster with more research and development funds behind it as companies look for alternatives to union extortion and outrageous demands.
Ken Elkins wrote an interesting piece in the Charlotte Business Journal recently on April 15, 2016 titled; “Charlotte FedEx Freight drivers’ unionization effort draws out,” and my first response to this was simple and abruptly hardcore; Fine Give them the raise, but then invest 10-fold that amount in driverless autonomous truck technologies and tell them in advance that is what you plan to do.
You see, the article stated: “About 220 drivers for FedEx Freight in Charlotte are having a difficult time getting the company to negotiate with their new union more than 16 months after it was certified.”
We see parallels to unionization and worker demands in the Fast Food Industry where workers demand $15.00 per hour and the restaurants realize they cannot stay in business at that price as the end product would be priced so high consumers wouldn’t be willing to pay, thus fewer jobs and restaurant franchisee closures, or the Fast Food Restaurants will fully automate to robotics, which is often their first choice of refuge from the onslaught of impossible worker demands. Essentially, philosophically speaking it is the exact same argument.
It’s not only in these two industries but all industries and the workers need to understand that and prepare for the Future Of Work, which may not include them if they get too greedy with their demands. I ask that you please consider all this and think on it.