Uber Freight is the latest entry in to self-driving long haul shipping with an unspecified number of tractor-trailers being tested from its hub in Arizona.
Like other companies testing the transfer hub hand-off model for autonomous trucking, Uber uses human drivers for the short-hauls from the customer's dock to the transfer hub facility. There, a safety driver with a self-driving tractor takes custody of the freight trailer and begins the second leg of the long-haul segment of the delivery which will be driven on the open highway.
Uber says the hub hand-off requires a human touch to unhook and hook the freight trailer. The company is not building its own vehicles but seems to be positioning itself as a service broker that will match truckers with companies, using the Uber standalone trucking app.
So far, Uber Freight vehicles have logged over 2 million miles and hopes to develop a system that allows freight to be hauled 24/7, continuously handing-off trailers to other drivers.
Uber has been planning to launch a long-haul trucking venture since acquiring Otto, the self-driving truck startup, for $650 million in the middle of 2016. However, the acquisition sparked a bitter legal dispute with Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google parent Alphabet. Read more here: