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Transportation Businesses Technology

Uber Self-Driving Trucks Are Now Moving Cargo For Uber Freight Customers (techcrunch.com) 52

Uber's autonomous trucks are now being put to work via Uber Freight, Uber's commercial cargo shipping on-demand app. "The first runs are being done in Arizona, with regular hauls operating with both human drivers and autonomous trucks working in tandem," reports TechCrunch. From the report: How it works is that Uber will load up the freight on a conventional, human driven truck who collects the load from the shipper and then does a short haul run to a transfer hub. The short haul truck then loads its cargo onto a long-haul freight transport, which is autonomous for the purposes of these trips. That self-driving test truck handles the highway driving for the longer portion of the trip, handing it off once again to a human-driven trip for the short haul cap to the overall journey. Uber Freight handles the load sourcing, just as it dos for connecting shippers with regular human truckers. Uber's Advanced Technology Group is simply deploying its self-driving trucks on the Uber Freight platform, in the same way that the autonomous team within Uber is using the Uber ride-hailing network to test and deploy its self-driving ride share vehicles. Uber has released a video depicting this journey.
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Uber Self-Driving Trucks Are Now Moving Cargo For Uber Freight Customers

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  • I have the sudden urge to play simutrans.

  • Meh, as long as it makes shipping cheaper.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @09:47PM (#56219965) Homepage

      Never ever be confused by the difference between lower costs and lower charges, one hardly ever leads to the other and that is the purposeful function of public relations and marketing, the ability to confuse the gullible. Corporations charge the maximum they can only limited by diminishing returns with higher profit margins, the cost versus the charges. Ideally as seen in modern governance, they want tax payers to foot the bill for the costs and then charge infinite profit margins, infinite because say like the F35 Flying Pig, the final purchase leads to the goal of the aircraft being declared unsatisfactory, blame government controlled by those corporations and buying a new replacement (they seem to be pushing the M$ model where every second version is utter trash requiring replacement at your cost).

      The modern trend if for more skilled drivers, that place their equipment appropriate after getting it to site safely and then unloading it themselves to the right location. Auto trucks at this stage, lets be economically honest, are an IPO tool, to make the company look like it is worth more than it is.

      Always keep in mind the cargo will often be worth more than the truck and not just the cargo itself but delays in delivery. All sorts of things can stop an auto truck cold, one detector slightly faulty and someone's cargo is dead on the side of a road, depending how far away, that can mean dead for days and delays can cost way, way more than a truck driver. How well does autodrive work in muddy conditions, where there is a high likelihood of obscuring detectors and if not mud how about snow.

      Any perceived saving, after already adding in higher capital cost, can be goobled right up in penalties for lost cargo and if the turkey vultures at Uber think they can scam commercial operators like they do the gullible public, well, they will be bankrupted into oblivion via civil suits. In commercial cargo operations it is all about the cargo, undamaged and on time, no whoops star rating, straight to court rating and clauses like, we take no responsibility for safe delivery of cargo, blacked out by highlighter and initialled or the contract binned.

      Uber makes new announcement to pretty up company prior to IPO, believe nothing.

      • Why don't you tell me how you REALLY feel?
      • All true, however I suspect that the autodrive is also with a driver on board in the truck. There may be some benefit even to doing that, such as the human driver can rest and then drive again later (when the handover to human driver time comes) hopefully refreshed by a sleep. So in the event of a sensor fail the truck could keep going with the human driver taking command. Kind of like autopilot on a plane really.

        w.r.t. your IPO tool comment this is what their 10bil has got them. Trucks that can drive fro
        • by q_e_t ( 5104099 )
          In many areas of the world the driver would need to be paid for the entire duration, awake or asleep.
          • I don't think Uber cares about the cost of the trip, they are doing this as marketing (if they are even doing it at all) Having a guy in the truck being paid does not make too much difference to the cost.
        • There may be some benefit even to doing that, such as the human driver can rest and then drive again later

          No he can't because when the thing decides it is coming across a situation it can't handle the driver will have seconds to react to what is going on in a 32 ton truck where you can't just rapidly change direction like a car.

      • Never ever be confused by the difference between lower costs and lower charges, one hardly ever leads to the other and that is the purposeful function of public relations and marketing, the ability to confuse the gullible. Corporations charge the maximum they can only limited by diminishing returns with higher profit margins, the cost versus the charges.

        Er, as do employees. They both charge their employers whet the market will bear.

        If your rent goes down, you don't go to your employer and say "you can pay me less now; me rent went down."

      • Never ever be confused by the difference between lower costs and lower charges

        Yep, we're all good so far.

        one hardly ever leads to the other

        This is demonstrably false. In nearly every competitive market (like shipping), at least some of the cost savings are passed on to customers. If they don't, their competitors will, and they'll lose business.

  • BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @09:15PM (#56219891) Homepage Journal
    This is total BS. They are not doing this. Autonomous driving is not at this level yet. Complete garbage.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I was going to say the same thing. That's not a real video of that happening.
  • ....that the autonomous truck is driving in places with nearly no weather.

    I'm pretty astonished that this is taking place; I assume that eventually - as is almost certain to ultimately happen - that when an autonomous truck hits/kills someone (even if it's their fault), all parties involved will be sued into oblivion.

    • This is America (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @10:02PM (#56220011)
      If there's any serious threat they'll fold the corporation and pay out little or nothing. Then they'll 're-open' on paper without so much as a name change. That's if they don't just keep the lawsuit going until the parties settle out of desperation or die of old age.

      We're a country that poisoned out air for 50 years so our engines wouldn't knock. Autonomous vehicles have so much profit potential that nothing is going to stop them. A few highway fatalities here and there certainly aren't.
    • The sad thing is that even as incomplete and failure prone as these systems are, THEY'RE BETTER THAN THE MAJORITY OF DRIVERS OUT THERE who are too tired, too distracted, too conceited and in too much of a hurry.
      • That's ridiculous, there is no way with the current state of AI that it would be better than an average human driver today. If that's the case, then why do people have to be alert for Autopilot?
    • I can believe that the vehicles may work on highways with little traffic but not in urban areas where humans make unpredictable moves.
    • when an autonomous truck hits/kills someone (even if it's their fault), all parties involved will be sued into oblivion.

      Tesla Autopilot has already killed several people. No one was sued into oblivion. How is this different?

      If anything, this reduces legal costs over human driving, since there are detailed recordings of exactly what happened.

  • Show me the receipts,......

    No really though, I've seen I think now, at least 3 articles in the past 6 months, discussing limited running of genuinely autonomous vehicles on the roads.

    Note the headline: "Uber Self-Driving Trucks Are *Now* Moving" ,....

    So for all these articles I've not seen a single photo or video of an actual self driving vehicle operating on it's own without being either PR video or testing video.

    Is this /actually/ occurring or just claimed to be? I find the tech exciting and interesting

    • > I've not seen a single photo or video of an actual self driving vehicle operating on it's own because the technology is still in development.

      The technology is still in development, but that shouldn't lead you to believe the humans are driving them. For the test cars they are there in case of an emergency but doing very little driving. Waymo/Google has clocked 5 million autonomous miles.

      If you live in Phoenix and want to ride in an a meatless Waymo (uber-killer) taxi you can apply here for the beta.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        If you live in Phoenix and want to ride in an a meatless Waymo (uber-killer) taxi you can apply here for the beta.

        AFAIK they've moved the engineer to the back seat, but meatless is still an exaggeration. The plan is remote assistance, but I haven't seen them even experiment with that yet. Besides they probably have to win the public confidence first and then say "See, you don't really need me here" later. Particularly if you give it the voice from HAL 9000...

  • As long as Uber allows anyone heading their way to jump on board, all is good.

  • just like in flying high
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • Inn soulidarity wif da teechers what do boot be strikin' here in Auklandhoma: Yur artikal has typoe: "...just as it dos..."

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller

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