Video: New Look and Sensors for Uber Self-Driving Semi

July 6, 2017
The spinning 64-channel LiDAR laser sensor on the roof of the cab

The spinning 64-channel LiDAR laser sensor on the roof of the cab makes you look at the Uber self-driving truck right in the eye, telling you it is using a more sophisticated autonomous system than the previous models.

Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) has been testing a new version of its truck that has upgraded components and software. In an interview with ATG product manager Alden Woodrow said the tech refresh wasn't made as a direct result of the Uber/Waymo legal fight (click here for backstory) but the truck's design redoux does incorporate technology from several sources.

Regardless, the LiDAR tech stack gives the vehicle more exposure to its environment and allows it to build what Woodrow calls "a very high-quality point cloud of its surroundings." This means the software has more data to work with and should result in making better decisions when in self-driving mode.

The new truck has been testing in the San Francisco area where the California DMV recently determined that the Uber ATG is a Level 2 vehicle. According to the state's DMV, a Level 2 vehicle requires a trained driver onboard at all times to take over the vehicle if necessary. That said, the ATG does not currently meet the definition of autonomous technology under California law.

Uber ATG has purchased more new trucks and has plans for more demonstration runs like the one it did with the Budweiser delivery last year.