When one of Uber’s self-driving trucks drove 200 kilometers from Fort Collins to Colorado Spring to deliver a shipment of Budweiser, it seemed Uber was primed to disrupt the estimated $800 billion trucking industry. Optimism was bolstered by Uber’s acquisition of the self-driving trucking startup, OttoMotto, last year.
After the acquisition and successful test run, Lior Ron, OttoMotto’s co-founder, told Reuters he “expected truckers would be using the firm’s driverless technology to haul freight by 2017 as part of a suite of trucking services offered under the Uber banner.”
Despite these early efforts to pair automation with hauling services, Uber’s trucking application, titled “Uber Freight,” attempts only to connect truck drivers with cargo needing to be hauled. Bill Driegert, Uber Freight’s director of operations, reported the company’s self-driving truck initiative and freight hauling service are on “separate tracks.”
Uber’s concentration on matching shipments to carriers means entering a more competitive environment. Uber Freight is similar to competitor services like Convoy, Doft, and Trucker Path, which also connect drivers to shipments.