Uber’s self-driving trucks now operating service in Arizona, the company announced on Tuesday. Uber declined to comment on further details about how many trucks it’s using and the products it’s transporting.
The delivery of commercial transport marks the beginning of the company’s aim that it laid out when acquiring trucking companies, Otto, in August 2016. Uber’s Advanced Technology Group is also working on a driverless car which is a part of autonomous truck development.
In Uber’s current program, a trucker found the self-driving truck at the Arizona state border. The truck takes the load over the state before handing it off to another trucker to transports it over the last few miles to the recipient. During the trip, an Uber employee was monitoring the autonomous truck.
Uber’s self-driving trucks now operating service in Arizona but for now, it has a trained Uber employee behind the wheel to monitor the ride, but the company’s goal is to do away with the driver.
The Uber says that human-driven journeys offer benefit to truckers as they get employment as well as the opportunity to spend more time at home than traveling.
“The big step for us recently is that we can plan to haul goods in both directions, using Uber Freight to coordinate load pickups and dropoffs with local truckers,” said Alden Woodrow, who leads Uber’s self-driving truck effort. “Keeping trucking local allows these drivers to make money while staying closer to home.”
Further, Uber will continue to enhance it truck-based technology and predict its Uber Freight platform’s expansion.