Autonomy is the way of the future. Uber’s self-driving trucks are on the forefront of autonomous self-driving vehicles for their customers. Uber’s customers can access the on demand shipping app, Uber Freight, to have these self-driving trucks transport their commercial cargo.
Trucking is the perfect industry for automation, given the fact automated trucks can remain on the highway for longer amounts of time than trucks driven by humans. After a year since Uber tested their self-driving trucks of 2,000 cases of Budweiser in Colorado, the company is advancing their autonomous trucks on the highways of Arizona.
The process of using Uber’s self-driving trucks involves both a human driven truck and a self-driven truck. The cargo is first loaded by a human driven truck where the cargo is taken to a transfer hub. The cargo is then loaded onto a long haul freight truck. The self-driving truck will transport the cargo for the longer portions of the trip. For the shorter portions of the trip, the cargo is handed off once again to a human driven truck.
Uber’s Advanced Technology Group is testing these self-driving trucks on their platform. The Uber Freight app handles connecting shippers with human drivers. The company is working to create a commercial system of connecting shippers and those needing items shipped similar to their ride-hailing app Uber.
In a video by Uber, which can be seen at https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/06/uber-self-driving-trucks-are-now-moving-cargo-for-uber-freight-customers/ there is a detailed depiction of the process of how these self-driving trucks transport cargo.
Because of these type of trucks, the nature of truck driver’s job may change. However, Uber expresses its goal is not to eliminate trucking jobs. Human drivers will still be needed to back up the trucks to a loading dock or direct the truck around busy industrial areas.
This is a major milestone for the ride-hailing company as they surge into the world of self-driving trucks. Their autonomous truck technology puts the company ahead of some of its competitors aspiring to do the same, such as Embark Trucking. It is great to see the progress a company like Uber is making in the self-driving truck business.