How Long-Haul Trucking Works

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Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Music by
Select footage courtesy the AP Archive


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  1. Nathan Winslow on June 24, 2020 at 10:31 am

    In the near future, I belive it’s estimated that 2 million drivers in the US will lose their jobs over AI. what’s a guy in his 50’s supposed to transition to when he gets laid off?

  2. Jude Odogwu on June 24, 2020 at 10:31 am

    What interstate is that at 07:03 please?

  3. lanista78 on June 24, 2020 at 10:32 am

    It was all a good video until you came to Tesla BS.

  4. vbddfy euuyt on June 24, 2020 at 10:33 am

    productions has also deserted them. RIP aviation.

  5. Skele Boner on June 24, 2020 at 10:34 am

    I hiiiiiighly doubt full-autonomous trucks will become a thing within the near future. There’s far too much bullshit associated with the job that requires a guy who can pull over and hop out of the cab. Like, what does robo-truck do when there’s an issue with the trailer it just hooked up to, maybe dispatch has one idea for when it’s supposed to be leaving and the warehouse has another, so there’re still guys and equipment on that trailer? What about austere dropoff points? Areas where GPS doesn’t match up with the real world (which is really fucking common in my experience, according to Google there’s a road going through my house because it’s built on a decommissioned county road)? Hell, are you going to be able to get a robust enough sensors package on every one of these things to be able to bump the dock at some of these weird ass locations where you have to do crazy shit to get in, the kind of docks where you have to get out and scope it out as a human driver?
    The response to that may be to have autonomous trucks for bulk transport- from one warehouse to another, for intermodal between large airports/harbors and warehouses, and then have human drivers do the final delivery, but then that requires companies to maintain diverse fleets, which is bad for maintenance and it means you have trucks that you can’t press into different roles should trucks go down, which they always do. That may be negligible for some huge operation, but the majority of US trucking companies are small businesses, and measured by number of trucks those huge operations account for like half of the trucks on the road. You also point out that the majority of truckers in the US are owner-operators, and uh… what sane person is going to buy a machine that’s going to strip away their livelihood? So then the onus of purchasing these fleets falls solely on the businesses that are going to use them, which isn’t a trivial cost. Is buying however many hundred unmanned or optionally-manned trucks at however many hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions, depending on the complexity of the sensors package, but I’m not super up to speed on what they’re putting in self-driving sensor packages) worth the payroll savings?

    And then there’s the fact that this is all assuming absolute efficiency is the end-goal here, when I’d argue corporations oftentimes ignore potential gains in efficiency. There’s a body of research showing that 4 and 5 hour shifts are more efficient than the 8 hour standard, but then 8 hours is still the standard. Similarly, there’s plenty of research showing that regular rest breaks and general time to recuperate make for more productive workers, but then I’ve never worked a job where I wasn’t regularly expected to ignore breaks to meet quotas or finish projects. Hell, I’ve been told off for complaining about horribly inefficient practices at multiple jobs, because that’s how the suits wanted it done. The rise of teaming and the constant lengthening of trailers shows the transport industry cares about efficiency insofar as getting as much mass moved as quickly as possible, but I don’t think it’s an acceptable jump from there to say they care about it so far as to completely or mostly automate in pursuit of minimizing their payroll and HR costs. This video reads a lot like the gee-whiz spots of the 50s and 60s highlighting how some new tech was going to radically alter life in just a few short years, like how we’d have a moon base or flying cars or whatever, but then here we are in 2020 and those are still pie-in-the-sky aspirations.

  6. Zenn Exile on June 24, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Got about 8 more years and truckers won’t be running tractors anymore they will be running a train of tractors that all autonomously follow. Then about 5 years after that, AI will be able to take over entirely.

  7. Alex Klas on June 24, 2020 at 10:35 am

    If you’re wondering how someone that makes videos on the logistics of long-haul trucking has 2.6 million subscribers, you haven’t watched a Wendover Productions video.

  8. KeanuBodypillo g on June 24, 2020 at 10:35 am

    So if truck stops have dog groomers, then that means people being dogs in their trucks?

  9. Colin Goldthorpe on June 24, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Truckers will be driving these vehicles for the next 20-30 years. Just like the Tesla cars in the cold weather their distance is reduced by 50%…..

  10. Hungry Moose on June 24, 2020 at 10:38 am

    All these people commenting on how trains are better than convoys have no idea how logistics work other than "tRaiN cArrY mOre, trAiN bEtteR!"

  11. Dev Kulkarni on June 24, 2020 at 10:42 am

    How on earth does "convoy of driverless trucks" make more sense than the Railway?

  12. BradKR on June 24, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Yup 80k going down the road no driver in rush hour with 3 lanes shut down. That’ll go well.. oh and blown out tires, weather, and so on so forth. Won’t be a good deal in the end. Coming from me a truck driver.

  13. hmm2 on June 24, 2020 at 10:44 am

    bendover productions

  14. thejugrknot on June 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Australian Road Trains would like to have a work with you.

  15. Wheresmyeyebrow on June 24, 2020 at 10:48 am

    So long-haul trucking works with trucks driven either by individuals or by pairs 9-11 hours each with limited vehicle weights stopping at way-stations usually located alongside highways that contain hygienic, financial, medical, and other services not available for drivers as well as scanners to make sure the vehicles’ standards are being met such as scanning tires for heat (too little is not enough breaking and too much is too much), and is slowly being technologically transformed thanks to automatic trucks that can not only drive on their own but with multiple convoys following them (although probably only on longer trips as urban areas would be more complicated) as well as electrically powered Tesla trucks – both capable of cheapening the cost of freight?

  16. Allonan on June 24, 2020 at 10:48 am

    All i see are jobs being lost at a faster rate than new ones being created… and with everything going online they can run companies with way fewer people than an actual store… so these goods have to have a tax that makes people want to actually go out to shop maybe in big cities but rural areas or areas with a smaller population have to have something to force them not to buy goods online and go to stores to buy goods otherwise jobs will be lost and Amazons take their place… they may provide jobs but they aren’t good paying jobs and they don’t pay taxes and they don’t help the local economies really.. 15/hr isn’t a good paying joy its only a livable wage in rural areas and they are helping put the other business out of business and then what… nothing for those people to do but either work for Amazon or get on welfare… so while people are protesting and getting their way on everything why not start protesting for something that will actually help.. like banning lobbying groups and forcing big companies to pay more… take away tax breaks punish those that get around paying taxes… its time to go after these big companies before they have anymore power over our lives… we have seen how the big drug companies are … life saving drug they go up 1000% just because there is nothing stopping them.

  17. Patriotic Anarchist on June 24, 2020 at 10:49 am

    15 hours for Texas oilfield

  18. kajal091 on June 24, 2020 at 10:51 am

    You forgot to mention the electric truck battery problems.

    At the current battery charging rate it will take 7+ hours to charge the batteries even with Tesla supercharging stations. Tesla is claiming that their semi can charge 80% in 30 minutes but that’s with insanely high voltage, way higher than supercharger v3. Currently, We don’t have the infrastructure to support that and it’s a horrible idea when it comes to battery degradation.

    The battery lifespan is a major issue, since unlike electric cars, truck’s batteries will be constantly charged and drained. Which will degrade the battery much faster and if you charge at higher voltages to save charging time then the battery degradation will be even worse.

    Electric car batteries lasts about 8 years. I would estimate that a truck batteries would last for a year or two max. Those batteries will not be cheap.

    We would need major infrastructure upgrades such as high power charging stations (way higher power than the current Tesla superchargers) and the electrical grid to handle the extra load.

    Personally, I don’t think that electric trucks will take off until there’s major breakthrough in battery technology. Also, everyone should take Elon’s claims with a grain of salt. His track record is not that great and filled with empty promises.

    Hydrogen trucks are much more likely to take off than electric trucks in my opinion.

  19. Ookami Kage665 on June 24, 2020 at 10:51 am

    TL;DR: Make better predictive systems vs reactive for autonomous vehicles, personal experience story, expand sensors for autonomous system onto trailer.

    Like I’ve said in other videos talking about autonomous trucks, I’m not going to trust an autonomous vehicle unless it can predict unsafe drivers *before* they do something unsafe. An example from my own experience. I was driving through Indianapolis on the loop, checking the on ramp traffic. (East side, heading north just passed the I-69 exit) I spotted a red Pontiac riding the bumper of another vehicle and thought to myself, "This guy is gonna cut around that guy and in front of me." Sure enough, he cuts around the car before the merge area begins, accelerates and cuts in front of me. It’s that kind of predicting that I hope autonomous trucking gets to *before* they get rid of drivers completely. I also hope that they can have sensors on the trailers themselves to give an extended range of view as well, otherwise they’ll have the same blind spots drivers have now in trucks, which just means another potential connection failure between truck and trailer.

  20. Llamazing on June 24, 2020 at 10:52 am

    TWL, some might remember

  21. bocoy noiu on June 24, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Sam: American trucks only have the bare minimum of comforts American trucks: literally twice as long as european ones

  22. Michael Josias on June 24, 2020 at 10:53 am

    no plane reference? WONDERFUL!

  23. Donald Ducks on June 24, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Can’t even automate the rail industry fully but they’re going to do this on the roads. Brilliant.

  24. Everything Science on June 24, 2020 at 10:57 am

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how truck drivers are reintegrated into the economy once self driving trucks become the norm

  25. dan holman on June 24, 2020 at 10:57 am

    how are trucks going to become autonomous when a train on a fixed rail still has a crew? bit of wishful dreaming maybe.

  26. TheShawn 3000 on June 24, 2020 at 10:58 am

    As a Michigan resident, that 164,000lbs is one of the reasons why our roads are bad

  27. pbiz1020 on June 24, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Sam Hyde predicted the paradigm shift

  28. mcQ NPC trigger #10003464 on June 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Why would i idle all night? what bull.

  29. George on June 24, 2020 at 11:03 am

    My only problem with electric truck and electric cars in general is the fact that most of them are ugly

  30. Alina Radu on June 24, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I mean.. that’s cool and all but honestly just invest into more railway. It’s more reliable, roads don’t get worn down as much, it’s safer, less damaging to our climate… idk. You could even have trains traveling at higher speed than trucks anyway. I get that trucks will still be necessary but at least not long haul ones. It’s insane to me how the world works sometimes.

  31. George Pearson on June 24, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Stick it on a train problem solved

  32. on June 24, 2020 at 11:06 am

    thanks for uploading. Got some new inspiration 👏

  33. 0UTC4STD on June 24, 2020 at 11:07 am

    2025 Truck Drivers no longer around
    3025 Space Truck Drivers has become the new most desirable career

  34. slothfulcobra on June 24, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Electric vehicles as they work right now aren’t really optimal for long many-day journeys. Not because of range limits or the infrastructure of charging ports not being there, but because charging to full takes much longer than filling a gas tank. People can easily charge their cars overnight for commuting, but it defeats the point of trying to drive continuously if you’ve got a team of drivers.

    Also from the looks of things, autonomous vehicles aren’t going to really be viable for mass market for at least a few more decades. Unless we create exclusive roads that only they can use for transit so they can’t be messed up by unexpected variables. And then we’d call them trains.

  35. 844Steam Fan on June 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

    There is a reason that TOFC trains exist. (TOFC = Trailer on Flatcar)

  36. antonsebastian on June 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Oh boy how trucking sucks in usa..

  37. Moises Corral on June 24, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Mpg would higher if they didn’t use def

  38. Bob Sinha on June 24, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Higher speed freight rail would be better

  39. S R on June 24, 2020 at 11:14 am

    *Soyuz Nerushimy Respublik Novodnikh plays in the distance*

  40. Tricia R. on June 24, 2020 at 11:16 am

    My friend from Florida drives a truck and is finally out here on the west coast, Oregon! He can’t leave his truck so I am picking up dinner to go hang out with him, I have never been inside one of these trucks so I am excited!

  41. Junk Drawer on June 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

    had no idea dentists were common in truckstops

  42. 844Steam Fan on June 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

    How do International railroads work? (Like how CN & CP connect to there US lines from Canada. And how KCS connects to its Mexican lines.)

  43. sillyak on June 24, 2020 at 11:19 am

    How does the autonomous truck throw chains?

  44. SirHF on June 24, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Electric driverless trucks behind a electric truck with a driver? Just build a train man, way more efficent.

  45. herpderpherpd on June 24, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Australian truckers find it hilarious that American truckers have so many appliances in their vehicles.
    Here, they have a bed.
    That’s it.

  46. Ethan Huffman on June 24, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Autonomous convoys….soooo a train with no tracks. Seems less efficient than using a train.

  47. tony kriss on June 24, 2020 at 11:25 am

    The age of highway heist would come with unmanned truck. There have already been heists with manned truck. Imagine what they would do to the stupid auto driver.

  48. SemiTruckDriver on June 24, 2020 at 11:25 am

    As a truck driver I cried while watching this can someone save my life

  49. Chris Yao on June 24, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Andrew Yang been telling this to everyone y’all.

  50. Lyle Griffiths on June 24, 2020 at 11:27 am

    I would love to see a LTL trucking video. I drive for a large LTL carrier around 2500 miles a week home every day.

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