Uber Trucks Are Next
American ride-sharing service Uber Technologies is looking to move into driverless trucking following its acquisition of the start-up autonomous driving company, Otto. Through Otto, Uber plans to shake up the USD700 billion road freight with self-driving technology that could allow truckers to sleep in their cabs as they drive along.
Otto makes autonomous driving equipment that straps on to lorries to convert them into self-driving machines, though a human must steer on entering or exiting a motorway, or when traversing busy cities. The technology is said to make platooning of lorries viable on highway routes.
The technology is being tested on public roads in San Francisco, with a driver and an engineer present in the cab. Otto lorries will begin carrying freight for customers next year, according to one of the company’s founders, Anthony Lebowski.
Uber, meanwhile, has opened talks with haulage companies and freight brokers to promote the technology. Otto was founded by a core of former Google staff who went on to lure dozens more from the likes of Tesla and Apple.
Developers hope for productivity gains with the new technology that will enable trucks to drive around the clock, leaving humans to rest, do paperwork and take controls only while going on and off highways.