Change can be a beautiful thing, but to many it’s the beginning of the end of something they’d rather have stick around instead. Technology’s changed the bus world, for sure - but is that good?
What was that wedding jingle thingy that goes like: “Something borrowed, something blue, are they your shoes? Are they old or new?” Anyway, the point is, the idea of old things becoming old and being replaced by something new has been around since probably caveman (cave woman / person / cave kids’) days when one hairy chap’s favourite club was superseded by a possibly ‘graphite before graphite was even a thing’-enhanced one he’d tripped over down a gravel path three days prior.
Its ability to squash, gee … I dunno, pistachio nuts more deftly and precisely was perhaps the greatest innovation to that person at the time – and there would be no going back. Especially when you are really ‘hangry’, which I’d imagine most cave people would have been.
Well, I would have been. No Tim Tams or anything…
‘Changing’ technology always has been and always will be – fact. Yet the more this has occurred and the more we’ve all been able to share data and experience from ‘inter cave’ level to now ‘global cave’ level thanks to the wondrous ‘interwebs’ means for as much as that’s allowed us to collectively enhance and fine-tune current tech, it’s also enabled us to question its flaws and its overall benefit. A case in point? Well, let’s get more contemporary for this next part.
Earlier in March, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed soon after take-off and all 157 people on board were killed. As the second similar incident involving the same type of plane within six months, airlines worldwide using such aircraft either grounded them, halted their order or started checking out their fleets thoroughly and cautiously.
America’s President chimed in, stating what seemed obvious to many these days but still may be needed to be said to the masses, that basically planes these days are “too complex” for pilots to fly and suggested technological advancements are not as safe as experienced pilots.
Truth in this? To many, yes; something we’ve all thought for a while and then not worried about once we landed safely and hit the hotel minbar.
But is it that simple? NBC news ran an interesting online piece about the subject, citing Englishwoman Beryl Markham, who having turned African bush pilot, noted in her 1942 memoir West With The Night about flying’s future: “By then men will have forgotten how to fly; they will be passengers on machines whose conductors are carefully promoted to a familiarity with labeled buttons, and in whose minds the knowledge of the sky and the wind and the way of the weather will be as extraneous as passing fiction.”
The article continues that, in more complexity, pilots make errors too and that when faced with ‘a flying computer’ – with more bloatware crap on it than a cheap online gaming lappie probably – ‘have you tried turning it off and on again’ might equally be the dumbest and smarting thing they could do. But only if they don’t freak out – which would be seriously hard not to do, I reckon.
Buses? I’m glad you asked … and that you are still with me. Buses, cars, vans, freight-hauling trucks – autonomous and connected technology has, is and will change how we commute and move product around. Great in theory, and hopefully in practice. Bus drivers in particular will see a morphing of their role and hopefully won’t be extinguished completely. And while commercial flight and on-road public transport might seem realms apart, safety is safety and lives are lives, and that goes for a raft of other social realms.
In our lead news story this issue we look at a report on bus fires and couldn’t help but note the important role a bus driver had in reporting, addressing and handling such incidences. I hope we can still honour their roles and not just make them ‘promoted conductors’.
Still on the change and time-passing theme, yes, that is an old bus on our front cover this issue – and isn’t she ‘purdy’? We’ve looked at a range of new products over the past nine months for so, so happy to look at some very special retro-cool metal now and then. And the 1954 Clipper A36 is so cool we even got to take her for a spin. Check her out on page 20.
Also inside, tech and time again; we check out the latest developments of the Volvo autonomous bus project in Singapore and the amazing potential and advancement going on there.
Further into it we visit award-winning Rover Coaches in the picturesque Hunter Valley of NSW and later have a chat with visiting Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson about sustainability and the future of commercial vehicles in that regard.
Guides? We have two of them. Well, there’s Part 2 of our OEM telematics report while we check out some parts and accessories suppliers for 2019.
And, as always, we have the latest deliveries data and a cheeky pictorial that sets the tone for the 2019 show and event season to come.
I need sleep, got to run. Will see ya’ll around.
Until the next thrilling instalment…