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Self-driving trucks are here and it could be the beginning of the end for truckies

Tim Keen

ELF-DRIVING trucks are here. Not, like, literally here, but they’re here. In the US, a beer truck (yes, a beer truck – even beer is turning against its human masters) made a 200km trip from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, to deliver 2000 cases of Budweiser… with no human driver. It was run by a company called Otto (which, with 2000 cases of Bud, are now fully prepared to get blotto) and it could be the beginning of the end for truckies.

Call me obsessed with self-driving vehicles if you want, but I’m fascinated by them and our drive to make ourselves obsolete. First they came for the cab drivers, and I did not speak out because I’m not a cab driver. Then they came for the truck drivers, and I did not speak out because I’m not a truck driver.

Then they came for me – and, and, bleep-blorp, they were an army of sentient Scanias programmed without empathy, and there was no-one to speak for me.

On the face of it, self-driving trucks make a lot of sense – longhaul freeway driving is both quite dangerous for easily fatigued humans, feeble meat sacks computer pilots who do rough and tumble of city than truck drivers. Without trucks that don’t stop Which also means without a million truck-shot in a million swollen industry. Around the in mothballs because to eat a greasy truck-of wilted hash browns in the bain-marie for fact, the bain-marie companies will be sweating too, those hash browns.

And it’s the end of truckstop working girl. A computer needs no affection, requires to help warm its lonely on relentlessly through No more truckies also stubbie-shorts industry. Ask not for whom the airbrakes. It toots for thee.

And by god it is bad audio cassette industry, around country music. these cassettes – maybe S acks that we are, and the ideal place for o better with unbroken cruising than the ity driving. But there’s more at stake here thout truckies – with a world filled with – that’s the end of the truck stop. the end of the truck-stop burger. And ck-stop burgers sitting like bags of lead en stomachs, that’s the end of the antacid nation, Quick-Eze factories will be e there would be no-one left -stop burger, or a plate ns that have sat 16 hours. In ompanies just like the truckcomputer quires no-one y cab as it soldiers h the night. lso spells doom for the y. And blue singlet makers?

Robotruck toots its merciless hee. d news for the last hold-outs of the ry, which seems exclusively centred c. I have no idea where they’re making e Thailand, or maybe they just scour rural pawnshops where there always seems to be a plastic rack filled with the greatest hits of Kenny Rogers on old TDK 90s. However, without truck drivers stocking up because they snapped a spool rewinding The Gambler for the 800th time, it’s goodnight Irene to the tape makers. And it’s over and out, ten-four big daddy to the CB radio companies, too.

With truckies hocking their possessions to pay the rent, you can expect a glut in the market for things like 12-volt dash fans and tyre thumpers matted with the blood and hair of crippled roos and backpackers.

And when the money runs out, which it invariably will, picture entire trucking families being forced to live in the tiny little vampire-coffins behind the cab, staring glumly at the Picture magazine Home Girls pasted crudely on the walls, grinning smugly because, oh, they’re Home Girls and at least they still have a home. Stupid Home Girls.

It’s time we formed a union, a coalition of the willing, to stand up and speak out. Imagine thousands of Quick-Eze workers, stubbie-shorts weavers, red light girls and Kenny Rogers (is M Kenny Rogers still alive? If he’s alive, we need him. And he needs us) all marching to Canberra to demand in one uniform voice: we need truckies and truckies need us!