Driverless Commercial Vehicles - No Cabs Attached?by Jake Tully - Published: 9/29/2016
As the debate regarding self-driving trucks rages on the producers of the autonomous cabs may have raised the stakes to another level, namely, by ditching a space for drivers altogether.
Japanese manufacturer Komatsu unveiled their latest self-driving vehicle, a dump truck without any sort of cab for a human operator to monitor the truck's actions.
Revealed at a Las Vegas truck show earlier this week, Komatsu touted the increased productivity of its new vehicle - without a driver or cab space, the machine can reverse to pick up more loads without turning around, something impossible to accomplish with a human pilot. Komatsu also reports that their vehicles are better balanced without operators, and therefore has better navigation features for many different types of terrain.
The supposed push towards no drivers a modern step in the industry but may also usher in an alarming new trend that doesn't require any sort of human component for independent machines.
Many would agree that more productivity can only mean more prosperity, but many may also point out that machines, just like human beings, are infallible.
Machines can be programmed to do the same functions time and time again, but without the expertise and unique nature of humans behind these machines, there's no accounting for fixing mistakes or correcting any problems that can arise in a job full of surprises.
Komatsu perhaps represents the corporate mentality of maximizing profitability by maximizing productivity, but it also may represent the foolish nature of couching more accountable and experienced productivity for projected growth. Can Komatsu truly be on the side history with a perfectly productive automated fleet?