Otto, an autonomous truck of Uber’s subsidiary, made its first delivery

In the United States, Colorado, a truck without a driver made the first delivery of goods on a 200-kilometer journey. The technology that equips the truck was developed by Otto, a young shoot recently acquired by the transport service with driver Uber who feeds big ambitions in this field.

 When one speaks of autonomous driving, that is to say when the vehicle’s journey is directed by the on-board computer, the very first image that usually comes to mind is that of cars. Inevitably, the communication of the automobile industry on this subject is at least sustained. However, this technology is also very widely deployed in other means of transport.

As Futura has already had the opportunity to say, autonomous trucks have a future at least as large, if not more at first, than cars without drivers. It is a very attractive prospect for transport companies to travel long distances by freeing themselves from the rest time requirements of drivers. A market that is so attractive that actors outside the sector are very interested. This is the case of Uber, the service of transport car with driver (vtc) which made this summer the acquisition of Otto.

This innovative, US-based company is developing kit equipment to equip existing trucks with autonomous driving functions. Otto announced that a truck without driver equipped with its technology had made a delivery of goods, in this case beer. A world first.

Wired magazine, which devotes a report on this subject, recounts that the system used by Otto is not yet able to manage the entire course alone. If he is able to operate on motorways without the help of anyone, he still needs the help of a driver to negotiate the most delicate parts of the journey, whether it is insertion on a Fast track or city driving.

The autonomous truck, in which a human driver was present to intervene in the event of a problem, traveled 200 kilometers between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the highway. The autonomous driving kit, which includes cameras, lidar and ultrasonic radars, costs $ 30,000 and can be installed on any truck equipped with an automatic transmission.

Uber, which is working in parallel with the development of an autonomous car in partnership with Volvo, has already created a freight transport service called UberFreight which invites interested companies to participate in its experiments. But the vtc company is not the only high-tech actor to be interested in trucks. Tesla Motors recently announced its intention to develop a self-propelled truck, the Tesla Semi. Constructors and designers are also working on this concept, which you can see in our article on trucks of the future.

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One thought on “Otto, an autonomous truck of Uber’s subsidiary, made its first delivery

  1. Enrico Stefano says:

    Certainly it is a great innovation, a great idea and everyone is happy about this because we are moving quickly into the future, but we must focus our attention also on the consequences of this kind of technology:
    – will the drivers lose their job?
    – will the drivers change their role?
    – will the drivers earn less money?
    – what will be the impact on the world economy?
    – or worse, what will be the impact on people’s motivation?
    In my opinion we must think about these questions and give them an answer before putting into practice this idea. For example, just in the USA, there are 3.5 millions truckers, not to mention the other types of drivers that could be hit from this revolution (bus drivers, taxi drivers…).
    So we have big numbers (in the following link you can find a summary table about: occupation, average annual wage, number of jobs, total annual wages => http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-tracy/autonomous-vehicles-will-_b_7556660.html) and we are talking about the only US. Imagine the impact on the whole world economy.
    Ok, it is also true that we still need a long time before self-driving cars, trucks can work independently, but we have to begin now to think about some solutions.
    In conclusion I would say that too often we focus on the positive aspects of a technology, ignoring or not considering the consequences.

    In these articles you can find good points of view:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2013/12/19/will-the-google-car-force-a-choice-between-lives-and-jobs/#6f24fdbe546e

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/17/self-driving-trucks-impact-on-drivers-jobs-us

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