Uber Freight Talks Future of Autonomous Trucking

Uber Freight envisions a future where autonomous trucks and human drivers operate alongside one another in a hybrid network to ease the burden of increased freight demand, enhance truck drivers’ quality of life, and create more value for everyone in the supply chain. Because of this, the company has launched an industry-first strategic partnership with Waymo that unlocks billions of autonomous miles on Uber Freight’s network for years to come. Additionally, Uber Freight is currently running a multiphase pilot program with Aurora where Uber Freight is also learning how to integrate the Aurora Driver into its digital freight network.

On the back of these partnerships, Uber Freight is unveiling a road map for the practical deployment of this vision, as well as detailed research exploring the impact autonomous trucks will have on truck driver jobs, operating costs, and the movement of goods overall.

Among the key findings of the research are:

The hub-to-hub model represents a practical starting point for the accelerated deployment of autonomous trucks
  • For the foreseeable future, most autonomous trucks will operate under a hub-to-hub model, where human drivers handle the trip ends, which involve complex urban streets, and autonomous trucks will service the middle on highways.
  • Using a nationwide freight model, we find that the hub-to-hub model presents a sizable opportunity, with an immediately addressable market of 25 billion miles of long-distance dry van freight on the interstate system.
The hub-to-hub model is also economically feasible, especially for long hauls
  • Feasibility improves with longer hauls, where the fraction of cost associated with the first and last miles is smaller.
  • By analyzing historical carrier pricing data, we find that this model is feasible for all stakeholders on 80% of lanes if AV carriers can achieve a middle-mile cost of $1 per mile, and on 40% of lanes with a middle-mile cost of $2 per mile.
Autonomous trucks within a hybrid network will fill trucking employment gaps, rather than replace human drivers. They will provide capacity where it is needed most: in long-distance trucking
  • Using a nationwide model of interstate freight movements, we estimate that 180,000 drivers will be needed to cover 18 billion miles of dry van freight by 2050.
  • Autonomous trucks on the long-haul middle mile would enable humans to shift to local hauls, boosting the demand for skilled drivers in the local sector. Drivers will have more control over their work and be able to stay closer to home.
  • The deployment will expand incrementally along strategic corridors in the US, starting with states where weather and regulations are favorable.

See the full report from Uber Freight by clicking HERE.

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