Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil company, confirmed this week it has entered into a five-year agreement with Komatsu Ltd., the Japanese manufacturer of earthmoving and construction machines, to purchase new heavy haulers for its mining operations north of Fort McMurray. All the new trucks will be “autonomous-ready,” meaning they are capable of operating without a driver, Suncor spokesperson Sneh Seetal said.
Suncor and its competitors in the oilsands are looking for opportunities to cut costs and boost productivity, an effort that has intensified amid the year-long plunge in oil prices. The steep fall in prices has already forced the sector as a whole to lay off thousands, with Suncor itself letting go 1,000 people this year.
Suncor has signed agreements to purchase 175 driverless trucks.
Suncor has been testing “autonomous haulage systems” in its oilsands mining operations since 2013 to determine whether the GPS-assisted trucks can work year-round in the oilpatch, Seetal said, adding the company doesn’t expect to make a decision until 2017 on whether to fully bring in the system, with implementation spread out over several years.
Suncor is working to replace its fleet of heavy haulers with automated trucks “by the end of the decade.”
“That will take 800 people off our site,” Cowan said of the trucks. “At an average (salary) of $200,000 per person.”
This will save about $160 million per year (of base salary). More savings including benefits.
If all competitors follow this path it would be a billion dollars per year and over 5000 trucking jobs.
Too bad for the drivers over the next few decades but I want my commute time automated and I want grandma to be independent and mobile and I want to save lives and reduce injury from accidents
So millions of driving jobs would be lost but
* I and others could have a productive commute. I have 2 hours per day commuting. I could theoretically boost productivity by 20%
* Many elderly people can no longer drive safely. Robotic cars will help them to be more mobile and independent
* costs saved throughout the supply chain have the potential to lower costs and provide big economic gains
* a trillion to the US economy from lower accident costs, lower insurance and boosted productivity
* over 30,000 lives saved and 240,000 reduced car accident hospitalizations in the US alone every year
According to an AARP spokeswoman, by 2030 over 78 million boomers will be 65+, and research shows that men will outlive their driving abilities by six years and women by 10.
There are likely five to ten times as many driving jobs in the world as there are in the USA.
Automation of driving has the potential to save over a million lives per year globally from reducing fatal car accidents.
Google has claimed the robotic car could :
We can reduce traffic accidents by 90%.
We can reduce wasted commute time and energy by 90%.
We can reduce the number of cars by 90%.
About 5.5 million motor vehicle accidents occurred in 2009 in the U.S., involving 9.5 million vehicles. These accidents killed 33,808 people and injured more than 2.2 million others, 240,000 of whom had to be hospitalized.
Adding up all costs related to accidents—including medical costs, property damage, loss of productivity, legal costs, travel delays and pain and lost quality of life—the American Automobile Association studied crash data in the 99 largest U.S. urban areas and estimated the total costs to be $299.5 billion.
Traffic congestion wasted 4.8 billion hours and 1.9 billion gallons of fuel a year for urban Americans. That translates to $101 billion in lost productivity and added fuel costs.
The US Army is testing robotic trucks
The US Army is testing robotic trucks. Hundreds of soldiers were lost during the recent wars while driving the trucks to maintain the military supply chain.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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