Coming Soon to a Freeway Near You: Driverless Big Rigs

Plus: Stand out from the TV advertising herd with a SpokesMammal

Everyone in the automotive industry has been watching the approaching “driverless car” era with great fascination. When corporate monster Google first went public with its very serious experimentation in driverless cars, we all said, “What?”



Now the concept is not only serious, it is really happening. Most driverless cars are in the final stages of testing and tweaking. Driverless cars are expected to be on the road by the hundreds, if not thousands, in 2017. That’s about six months away! Neither the car industry, nor the public, has quite grasped what this will mean to all of us. Is it bad? Is it good?

A recent article by Associate Press writer Michael Liedtke recently appeared in newspapers throughout the country, highlighting a start-up company in San Francisco called Otto. Otto is developing driverless technology in 18-wheel, big-rig trucks. (To see the Otto truck in action, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK76W1kH4jA.)

The company is the brainchild of former Google self-driving technology engineer, Anthony Levandowski. His dream is to have driverless big rigs, with 80,000 pounds of cargo, trucking down the highways and freeways of the U.S.

Not sure how I feel about this. Given that long-haul truck drivers can sometimes drive without enough sleep due to tight schedules, it may be a good thing. I do know that looking up into the cab of a giant truck going 70 miles an hour from a tiny Fiat 500 and seeing no driver might be disconcerting. What do you think?

Piranha SpokesMammal television commercials

If you ever get the feeling that most auto dealer television commercials are pretty much the same, you might want to take a look at a new set of animated commercials from Piranha Productions in Seattle. You could have a giraffe, monkey, or sloth represent you on TV.

The commercials are available exclusively by television markets across the U.S. Read more about animated commercials here, or check them out at www.SpokesMammal.com.

Brett Stevenson

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