By Gage Simpson, Owner Of New Frontier News
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
(NEW FRONTIER NEWS)- Uber announced Tuesday that it has begun using self-driving semi-trucks to carry freight on highways in Arizona.
The trucks, which still need a driver, are a view into the future of the trucking industry.
Uber began testing its trucks in 2017, and now that testing has been completed, Uber is contracting trucking companies to use its autonomous trucks.
Uber’s self-driving trucks are only being used on highways right now. This means that, while long-haul freight trips are done autonomously, the load still needs to be transported into urban areas by a human-operated truck.
The trucks also still require a human to be in the cab of the truck to monitor it and to take control if need be.
The move towards autonomous trucking has left many truckers feeling that their jobs might soon be in jeopardy.
Wendell Wallach, who wrote the book “A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond our Control,” warns that shifting to fully autonomous trucks over a 10-year period would average out to 14,000 truckers losing their jobs a month.
Uber and Chris Spear, CEO of the American Trucking Associations, however, say that truckers will still have jobs for many years to come.
Uber touts the fact that it allows for shorter trips for truckers, keeping them closer to home.
It would also make the industry more efficient by allowing trucks to stay on the road while truckers sleep in the cab on long hauls.
Arizona is currently one of three states which are updating their laws on autonomous vehicles to attract tech companies that make self-driving cars and trucks to their states.
Della Cava, Marco. (March 2018). Uber trucks start shuttling goods across Arizona — by themselves. USA Today. The United States. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/03/06/uber-trucks-start-shuttling-goods-arizona-no-drivers/397123002/
McFarland, Matt. (March 2018). Uber self-driving trucks are now hauling freight. CNN. The United States. http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/07/technology/uber-trucks-autonomous/index.html?sr=twCNN030718uber-trucks-autonomous1219PMStory
Reuters Staff. (March 2018). Uber’s self-driving trucks haul cargo on Arizona highways. Reuters. The United States. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-autonomous/ubers-self-driving-trucks-haul-cargo-on-arizona-highways-idUSKCN1GI2FT