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With Driverless Cars Running Late, a Startup Tries Remote-Control Trucks

Phantom Auto will steer forklifts from afar while waiting for robotaxis to hit the streets.

A yard truck being operated by a remote driver using technology made by Phantom Auto.
Photographer: Phantom Auto

For four days in February, Ben Shukman showed up to his office at Phantom Auto in Mountain View, California, sat down in front of a bank of computer screens with a steering wheel in a darkened room, and began driving. As the 25-year-old turned the wheel in Silicon Valley, an empty truck 2,500 miles away in Atlanta picked up semi trailers and towed them around a warehouse lot.

From seven states away, Shukman backed trailers into loading docks and parking spaces. “We were able to do some maneuvers that were so difficult that there were truck drivers there that said that they could not do that,” he said.