Last October, Uber-owned company Otto made headlines when its self-driving truck delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs. It was the first successful delivery by a self-driving truck, and now it looks like Uber is moving even further into the trucking industry with UberFreight.
The company unveiled the new service last week, launching a new website aimed at both carriers and shippers. The service works essentially in the same way that Uber’s ride-sharing service does. Shippers hoping to transport cargo are able to request available carriers looking for work. Carriers are not required to sign with established shipping companies, and shippers are able to take advantage of a network of flexible transportation for their cargo.
How Are Self-Driving Trucks Involved?
With its acquisition of Otto, it seems clear that Uber is interested in getting into the self-driving truck industry. And while little is known about the specifics of UberFreight, we do know that at this time the service will not be using Otto’s self-driving trucks.
However, UberFreight will allow the company to collect data from truckers that can be used to inform developments of Otto’s self-driving trucks. By collecting information on routes, road conditions and more, UberFreight will help Otto refine its self-driving truck technology. We can only assume that the service will eventually employ those same self-driving trucks, though there’s no official word on that just yet.
The new service shouldn’t come as a surprise to those keeping up with industry changes. In fact, as Business Insider previously reported, Otto had plans to launch its own truck service prior to being acquired by Uber.
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Are Big Changes Coming For The Trucking Industry?
UberFreight may be the latest service to hit the trucking world, but it surely won’t be the last. A host of tech companies have taken interest in the industry, looking to use their latest developments to improve the industry. For example, Tesla is working on its own line of self-driving trucks, while the Nikola Motor Company is developing new forms of environmentally friendly trucks.
These impending changes could make the industry as a whole more efficient and help generate more revenue, though some are understandably concerned by the prospect of self-driving trucks. If a truck drives itself, that means that a trucker will be out of a job. That said, it appears that safe, effective self-driving trucks will be years away.
Truckers looking to use UberFreight will still need to remain compliant with the Department Of Transportation and its drug and alcohol testing requirements. If you or your drivers need DOT testing, consider contacting New Era Drug Testing. We offer nationwide drug and alcohol services to help you stay compliant with the DOT and FMCSA, ensuring that the roads stay safe. Contact New Era Drug Testing today for more information on our services.