Amazon has been working for a while now to build out its shipping and distribution network. Now the online retailer has started coordinating its own shipments from Chinese merchants to its warehouses in the US via ocean freighters. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company doesn’t own any ships, but it’s working as a freight forwarder and logistics provider. These are the companies that reserve space on freighters and handle trucking shipments from port to a warehouse. WSJ says that Amazon has coordinated shipment of 150 containers from China since October.
A truck is a means to get cargo from point A to point B. A truck is a home, a job, a frequent guest in small towns that straddle highways, a way of life, and the beating heart of several supporting industries, all designed to keep the truck and its human pilot running. A truck is expenses, a breakable machine controlled by a fallible human, subject to labor laws and rules about interstate commerce. A truck is all of those things, and it may soon be a robot, too.
Yesterday at the Hoover Dam, the first licensed self-driving truck was unveiled to the world, begging the question: are there Autobots among us?