The story below explains why humans, as drivers or pilots, are already obsolescent.
Once people get used to passing driverless trucks on the freeway, trucks which never tailgate or speed, and are only very rarely
seen blocking traffic on the freeway following an accident (in which the occupants of a smaller passenger vehicle have been squashed) I don't think vehicle manufacturers will have much difficulty selling vehicles with self-driving capabilities for their personal use.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 74116.html
Daddy, What Was a Truck Driver?
Over the Next Two Decades, the Machines Themselves Will Take Over the Driving.
And then one day, man went the way of the mule.
Some 5.7 million Americans are licensed as professional drivers, steering the country's vast fleets of delivery vans, UPS trucks and tractor-trailers.
Over the next two decades, the driving will slowly be taken on by the machines themselves. Drones. Robots. Autonomous trucks. It's already happening in a barren stretch in Australia, where Caterpillar Inc. CAT +2.62%will have 45 self-directed, 240-ton mining trucks maneuvering at an iron-ore mine.
Most of the hubbub around autonomous technology has focused on passenger vehicles, notably Google's GOOG +0.69%promotional wonder, the Google Car. Ford Motor Co. F +4.31%Chairman Bill Ford Jr. says self-driving cars will hit roads by 2025. But commercial uses are where the real money and action lie: rewiring a massive part of the U.S. economy while removing tens of billions in costs from a commercial fleet that today numbers 253 million trucks.
Ubiquitous, autonomous trucks are "close to inevitable," says Ted Scott, director of engineering and safety policy for the American Trucking Associations. "We are going to have a driverless truck because there will be money in it," adds James Barrett, president of 105-rig Road Scholar Transport Inc. in Scranton, Pa.
Economic theory holds that such basic changes will, over time, improve standards of living by making us more productive and less wasteful. An idle truck with a sleeping driver is, after all, just a depreciating asset.
But watching a half-decade of lagging U.S. employment, it's hard not to feel a swell of fear for those 5.7 million people, a last bastion of decent blue-collar pay.
A world without truck drivers may eventually be a better one. But for whom?
At least better for trucking-company owners, who today grapple with driver shortages of as much as 15%, in addition to perennial hassles of fuel costs, regulations and crummy margins. "Holy s—," exclaims Kevin Mullen, the safety director at ADS Logistics Co., a 300-truck firm in Chesterton, Ind. "If I didn't have to deal with drivers, and I could just program a truck and send it?"
Roughly speaking, a full-time driver with benefits will cost $65,000 to $100,000 or more a year. Even if the costs of automating a truck were an additional $400,000, most owners would leap at the chance, they say.
"There would be no workers' compensation, no payroll tax, no health-care benefits. You keep going down the checklist and it becomes pretty cheap," ...
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