Earlier this month we discussed Uber’s acquisition of Otto, a driverless-truck startup. The idea was simply to merge the two technologies by retrofitting driverless tech to existing lorries. In a world-first, Otto and Uber have managed to deploy driverless tech successfully to a haulage vehicle, and have it travel 120 miles shipping 45,000 cans of Budweiser.
This was achieved entirely autonomously, without a driver at the wheel.
Experts predict that the immediate future of self-driving tech will be commercial trucking because haulage is relatively straightforward compared to the unpredictability of non-commercial travel. For example, a haulage route is repeatable and direct, where cars are driven by erratic humans.
This widescale automation is set to have dire consequences on the trucking industry as well as the ancillary services which support it (for example roadside diners), with some 9 million jobs expected to be affected by the technology. For now, though, we should celebrate the successful deployment of this groundbreaking technology. Go have yourself a cold one!