RIDE-HAILING giant Uber announced it was doing a very cool, techno-futuristic thing: starting a commercial delivery service that included letting a truck drive itself 344 miles across Arizona. Of course, a trained safety operator sat behind the wheel the whole time, ready to take over if anything went awry.
Pshaw, says a small startup called Starsky Robotics. In true Florida Man fashion, founder and CEO Stefan Seltz-Axmacher decided to do something much bolder and a bit scarier: In mid-February, in the Sunshine State (where regulations are as lax as those in Arizona), he sent his truck down the road for a 7-mile journey—with nobody inside. Now Starsky expects to start making completely driverless deliveries in Florida by the end of 2018, with at least one truck.
These two demos offer diverging futures of freight, in which humans play different roles.