Skip to Content
Smart cities

Uber’s self-driving truck plan relies heavily on humans

March 6, 2018

In a video released today, the ride-hailing giant laid out plans for how its self-driving trucks might fit into—and shake up—the trucking world.

Logistics, logistics, logistics: Uber’s idea is to coordinate exchanges between short-hauling, human-piloted trucks and long-haul self-driving vehicles at transfer stations around the US. Humans will handle the tighter roads close to cities and leave the interstates to AI-powered big rigs (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2017: Self-Driving Trucks”).

For example: Uber featured two (human) truck drivers in the video. Mark, on his way from Los Angeles in a typical 18-wheeler, meets up in Arizona with Larry, the pilot of a self-driving truck coming from the Midwest. They exchange their trailers, an action Uber says will “require the hands-on work only truckers can do” (a nod to concerns that self-driving trucks will eliminate jobs). Mark then heads back to California, and Larry heads east on a long haul.

Takin’ it to the streets: According to the New York Times, Uber’s self-driving trucks have already been hauling commercial cargo on highways in Arizona for the past few months, hinting that wider application of this plan might not be too far off.

Want to stay up to date on the future of work? Sign up for our newest newsletter, Clocking In!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

The inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it

Exclusive conversations that take us behind the scenes of a cultural phenomenon.

How Rust went from a side project to the world’s most-loved programming language

For decades, coders wrote critical systems in C and C++. Now they turn to Rust.

Design thinking was supposed to fix the world. Where did it go wrong?

An approach that promised to democratize design may have done the opposite.

Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death

Can anti-aging breakthroughs add 10 healthy years to the human life span? The CEO of OpenAI is paying to find out.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.