Daily Authority: 🚚 No trucker, no problem

by mcdix

One of the test vehicles that Apple uses for autonomous driving. Good morning, and happy Juneteenth for yesterday! Okay, team, this is my last week here at Android Authority. I’ll wrap up here after starting this newsletter as the DGiT Daily on October 2, 2018; about 800 newsletters have been sent out since then! Don’t worry; the team will ensure you get the morning tech news you need to know. I’ll be writing more about what it all means over the week!

Self-driving trucks

The reality of self-driving vehicles has been quite fun to watch over the years: we’ve seen Tesla’s controversial beta testing (without using Lidar sensors), a constant improvement from Alphabet’s Waymo and GM’s Cruise to autonomous shipping, and much more – like trucks! It will soon become apparent that most new vehicles will be capable of significant portions of self-driving cars, especially on largely similar highways. And as that gets closer, the distinction won’t be whether a car brand can or cannot, but more what it costs to have it available. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” add-on (which is still not full, but something like a Level 2 driver assistance system costs $199 p/m or, last check, $12,000. Elon Musk recently suggested that Tesla would be worth nothing if self-driving didn’t fix it, or at least be worth what other automakers are worth. There is still a long way to go, from handling 90% of daily roads and traffic to all scenarios, which is a big challenge. But here’s one area that’s coming soon: self-propelled large oil rigs.


Better for almost everyone?

Christopher Mims in the WSJ ($) ponders the changes coming to major platforms and whether America is ready. The argument is that fully equipped trucks with tons of sensors will be better than humans in some ways: Helping trucks see things that a human driver might miss will avoid the expense of people driving trucks long distances and long hours. In addition, there is a shortage of 80,000 drivers. Although not nearly as smart as a human, or adaptable, with useful help, and at the beginning in a limited sense: driving on the highway, not full from A to B. Mims writes that it is going to be shocking: “One day In the next few days If you are on the right stretch of highway in the US Sunbelt, you will probably have the disturbing experience of pulling next to a fully loaded semi-truck, looking at the cab and not seeing anyone behind the wheel at all .”


That day could be the end of 2023, although that date is based on two start-ups and their goals rather than a super realistic picture. Waymo’s trucking arm notes, “There’s no production-ready, commercially available truck with the redundant control systems a self-driving system would require,” such as backup steering, brakes, and electrical systems β€” and those additions won’t come cheap, but the costs will be quickly compensated. The potential could be an additional $20,000 worth of hardware for sensors and computers, largely eliminating labor costs and increasing truck usage if they can drive more times than without driver restrictions. Jobs will be lost, and the romance of the road will be set back. But people will remotely control trucks, likely driving them on city streets. A good quote to end from Parth Vaishnav, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan who has looked at the impact of self-driving trucks on truck drivers themselves: “These trucks will have different capabilities than a human-powered truck will, so they won’t be used in the way a human-powered truck will be used – in the same way, a hundred guys with shovels are not an excavator.”

To round up

Google uses a Drake number to argue against green bubbles in iMessage (Android Authority). “We all want a new Nvidia Shield tablet, and now is the perfect game”. Agree! A freshen-up would be perfect here. (Android Authority).

πŸ‘‰ “Microsoft’s odd Surface Duo 2 has surprisingly become my favorite device of the year”: At least nine software updates and a hefty price drop have transformed Microsoft’s dual-screen phone, though Dan admits here that it’s more of a secondary device (The Verge).

πŸ”₯ Diablo Immortal has reportedly earned $24 million since the release of eight million downloads (Engadget).

πŸ“‰ As cryptocurrency declines, prices for GPUs continue to fall, which is great for gamers, but more interesting for alternative applications like machine learning and big data crunching (Ars Technica).

The next opportunity is July 13, and this Wikipedia photo of the 2016 event brings back memories of old telephones:

Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

A good start to your week,

Tristan Rayner, Editor-in-Chief

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