Uber could soon eliminate the need for a smartphone as the only gateway into its service, with a whole new partnership. Uber has been using its self-driving trucks to transport goods in Arizona. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber announced Tuesday that it has been sending self-driving trucks on delivery runs across Arizona since November, the first step in what could be a freight transportation revolution that could leave long-haul truckers in the cold. After testing its technology earlier in 2017, Uber began contracting with trucking companies to use its own autonomous Volvo big rigs to take over loads as they traverse the state. Uber did not disclose what items it is transporting for which companies.
Google is one step closer to making self-driving cars a reality. In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's self-driving program, speaks about their driverless car in San Francisco. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber and Waymo's industry-critical battle over self-driving car technology now includes allegations of cover ups, clandestine meetings and big stock payouts. In arguments before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, attorneys for both parties laid out their case related to Waymo's request for a temporary injunction against Uber that would force the ride-hailing company to stop testing its autonomous cars. The day ended without a decision from Alsup.
Google's sister firm Waymo is about to begin its first commercial self driving car service. The service will be offered in Phoenix, Ariz., where the company has already been offering limited rides as part of a test program, according to The Information. It is believed the service will operate without a human driver for backup, although some vehicles could have drivers for longer trips, or places Waymo has yet to map. Alphabet executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin have allegedly been aggressive about autonomous ridehailing, according to the report, and wanted to launch a service as far back as last year. Waymo engineers are said to have talked management into accepting a'mixed' fleet instead.
Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo is testing autonomous truck technology, according to BuzzFeed. Waymo confirmed to BuzzFeed its move after the outlet learned of the move through a photograph. The company said it was manually driving the vehicle on a public road to collect data. "Self-driving technology can transport people and things much more safely than we do today and reduce the thousands of trucking-related deaths each year," a Waymo spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "We're taking our eight years of experience in building self-driving hardware and software and conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck."
Waymo is preparing to launch a ride-hailing service akin to Uber's, but with driverless cars. The self-driving carmaker spun out of Google was approved on Jan. 24 to operate as a transportation network company (TNC) in Arizona, the state department of transportation told Quartz. Waymo applied for the permit on Jan. 12. Its application, which was reviewed by Quartz, contained images of the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans the company is testing in five US states. The application realizes a long-held fear of Uber's: that Waymo intends not just to build driverless cars, but to operate its own ride-hailing business.