Uber’s self-driving trucks are now in service

Otto self-driving truck prototype

Uber has officially put its self-driving semi-trailer trucks into operation under the new service Uber Freight. In fact, Uber has had the self-driving trucks in service for a few months in the state of Arizona, reported last week.

It comes after the startup Otto, which Uber has since acquired, sent a self-driving semi on its maiden voyage across 120 miles of Colorado freeway in 2016.

Uber’s semi trucks have a licensed truck driver behind the wheel at all times in case any system fails. Obviously, the goal is to remove the human from the driver’s seat in time, and Uber doesn’t believe it will put truck drivers out of work by doing so.

Wait, what?

The ride-sharing company focuses solely on highway driving for its autonomous technologies and doesn’t envision its self-driving semis taking to local roads for quite some time. Thus, companies will still need humans to handle local deliveries and take over from the truck in many situations.

Uber envisions transfer hubs where self-driving semis will pick up and drop off trailers. At these hubs, human drivers would pilot semis destined for local deliveries, while the self-driving trucks shove off to trek across freeways. Uber’s backend systems would calculate demand for self-driving trucks and human drivers.

The hope is to make trucking a safer industry since many drivers are prone to drowsiness behind the wheel, which can cause crashes. Eventually, analysts believe self-driving trucks will be less expensive than employing humans since the high-tech semis won’t need to stop for breaks or catch some rest.

Read also:
Amazon Alexa voice assistant coming to more cars via SDK

Uber and its Otto subsidiary won’t be alone in the race to automate the trucking industry. Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is eying self-driving trucks, as is Tesla with its battery-electric Semi.

Check Also

1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II visits Jay Leno’s Garage before heading to Pebble Beach auction

Rear Admiral Robert Phillips has owned his 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II for 58 years. That means he has owned a racing Ferrari longer than anyone. That's set to change as Admiral Phillips' car is heading to auction during Monterey Car Week. Before it gets there, the Admiral brought the car over to Jay Leno's Garage to tell us all about why it's such a...

Isle of Man TT documentary captures the beauty and danger of the race

It's just a small rock in the middle of the Irish Sea, but for those who love motorcycle racing, the Isle of Man is an almost magical place. This is the home of the Snaefell Mountain Course, which is a twisting road circuit that unfolds over the course of 37.75 miles. The speeds are high, and the risks are higher. Many flock to this Manx mainstay to capture...