The idea of an eventual end to my career is something I’ve never really thought about. I mean, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else for the rest of my life. It’s nice to be home now and then, but there’s something liberating with just long winding roads ahead of me. Just me and my trusty, good ol’ workhorse. Even though this line of work can be quite unforgiving – there’s delays, traffic jams – sir Dave Dudley sang the words I live by: “I love my family and I always will but I’m just no good when I’m sittin’ still”. I’m getting up there in age but I try to keep an open mind.
Then I read something that threw me off guard and got me thinking about all this malarkey. Can you believe it? Robots replacing us? I know that there’s no stopping technology, I mean, I got a tiny robot that’s cleaning the air I breathe right next to me. But I never thought it would get this far, to a point where someone as important to the economy as a trucker could be expendable. I gotta admit, it’s not a nice feeling.
Just about every industry depends on trucking to get their materials from one place to another. In order for a product to get to the marketplace, raw materials must be brought to factories, the product itself must be delivered from point A to point B. Now that I said it that way, it does sound kinda simple, but there are many nuances. There are loading schedules, there are unexpected delays… No way in hell can a robot do all that better than me! I’ll tell you that much.
There are over 800.000 truckers in the States and we earn about $30 billion dollars together. All of that money goes back to the economy. I pay for my kids’ education, I buy things for my wife. We’re pretty large contributors and dependable providers if you ask me. A robot can’t replace that!
I would accept an option where they would simply cover driver shortage, since that’s becoming a problem that I can see. Not many have what it takes to commit to this way of life. But for that to happen, those self-driving trucks of theirs would need to learn how to be good samaritans in traffic too. Just the other day I saw a young man who had a flat tire, struggling to replace it by the side of the road. Would a robot stop to help? ‘Cause I did.
Anyhow, I’m gettin’ tired of all this rambling. Route planning and sack time for me.