Loaded Driving, hic…

Driving around, loaded, had another connotation. It meant, driving under the influence, which resulted in a spell in the lockup. In many cases it is very dangerous for the people sleeping on the road side, as some Cine Stars and a few rich people with their fancy cars, are very well aware. But here, my subject is different. It involves the latest craze, driverless cars. Or rather, the heavy weight category, the trucks. Yes, driverless trucks!!

Yesterday the first driverless truck was put into service after umpteen trials, in, where else, the United States of America! And imagine what would be its cargo. Hundreds of bottles of beer!! Why would anybody take a chance with beer? Why risk invaluable beer for the inaugural driverless drive of a truck. I mean, they could have used some other cargo, as a bait. Maybe, useless stuff like vegetables or grains. But no, they had to transport beer. If, God forbid, the driverless truck had met with an accident. Then all the madira would have gone down the drain, to bestow unexpected happy hours to the denizens of the underworld. But surprise! The driverless truck had a smooth journey to its destination, 200 km. away at a very safe speed of 83 km/hr. The task of transportation without a driver is achieved by a placement of assorted cameras and sensors all around the outside of the truck, giving it a 360 degree exposure. The sensors constantly sense the distance of the truck from any other physical object in its vicinity and the cameras give it vision. In the inaugural journey there was a driver, who remained in a non-driving position well away from the steering wheel. His function was to take over, only in case of an emergency or in case the various auto functions of the truck went kaput. Ultimately, he was proved to be an extra where the hero of the day was the driverless truck, gently escorting the coy beer from the factory to the waiting hands of the beer-bellied denizens of America.

But I shudder to even contemplate about the same scenario in India. At least, such fragile cargos , like beer bottles will not be transported through the driverless trucks. For one there are too many desperadoes in the prohibition states who will find out all the weaknesses of such transport. They will immediately grasp the weakness that such trucks will stop in case they come in front of it. And by the time the road is cleared again, the beer bottles would all have been escorted out from the back of the truck leading to the celebration of the happiest hours by all the forced non-drinking drunkards. So let’s see how the driverless transport story unfolds in India.

Yatindra Tawde

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