Smart Cities

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!