The race to produce the first fully autonomous car that doesn’t crash and burn mere seconds into its test drive, is more competitive than the world-wide scramble to put the first man on the moon. While the United States of America was able to stick her flag deep into the bedrock of intergalactic fame before all other nations, that same drive to be number one may not translate as seamlessly when it comes to the world of autonomous driving technology. With major automotive brands focused on this lofty endeavor scattered across the globe, a team of San Francisco big whigs are attempting to be the first to create a self-driving commercial trucking line.
Optimistic Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover this One
Without the fearless, self-inflated egos of people like Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, the future of autonomous commercial trucking would be left entirely up to chance. This pair of tech-savvy tinkerers co-founded Otto, a company devoted to exploring the future of commercial trucking through autonomous driving technology. Backed by the name ride-sharing supporters have come to know and trust, Uber Technologies and Otto are an unstoppable force that is sure to reach all of the long-winded goals they set their minds to.
A recent poll released by the American Trucking Association, estimates that almost 70-percent of all U.S. freight is transported by semi and other commercial trucks. This 726.4 billion dollar industry is one that cannot be ignored by the same brilliant minds that have saved millions of people the exertion it takes to extend an arm vertically, in order to catch a ride from a stranger. Replaced instead by a light tapping motion on a brightly lit touchscreen, people across the globe are giving thanks for the energy they have been able to save – thanks to Uber. Similar praise will surely be passed along to this pair of brainiacs, for saving thousands of truck drivers from having to report to work each day, and thereby releasing them from the responsibility of providing food for their families. Surely, if the autonomous commercial truck can save large corporations billions of dollars each year, this small hiccup on the American unemployment rate will certainly be worth it.
With a laser-like focus set to capitalize on the endless financial opportunities in autonomous driving technology, coupled with the Google Maps and self-driving robotic genius minds of Levandowski and Ron, Otto is interested in much more than simply creating semi trucks that are capable of reaching their destination without driver input. Uber plans to utilize Otto’s technology, so that buyers can order freight “on the fly,” just as easily as a drunk party goer would order a (hopefully) sober ride home. Uber Freight will launch sometime next year, and will provide businesses with the opportunity to order freight, and have it delivered without so much as lifting a finger. Oh, wait – no, the finger lifting is still necessary. Please excuse me, all of this talk of autonomous driving and runaway semi-trucks has me quite excited.
Before commercial truck drivers get too worked up over the idea of software replacing their livelihoods, don’t fret. Your route from Cincinnati to Chicago is still very much protected, at least for the time being.