Transport revolutionist Uber is quietly rolling out a new service connecting shippers with trucks, Uber Freight. News first broke on the new venture back in October 2016 an inside source – Eric Berdinis, product lead on Uber Freight – revealed the project to Business Insider. Berdinis shared that, while Uber’s future will feature self-driving trucks, its near future will certainly include trucks. “Even if you look preacquisition, Otto was always about reinventing transportation,” he said to Business Insider. “Even though we started with the announcement of the self-driving trucks, we were always intending to build a marketplace that would allow self-driving trucks to flourish.”
Since the service’s very quiet soft launch in October, a select few shippers and carriers have been able to use the service, with Uber planning an official launch in early 2017, Berdinis said. In mid-December 2016, Uber’s new Global Head of Uber Enterprise, Travis Bogard, wrote a blog entry outlining his plans for the company’s future.
“Uber’s mission is to bring reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere,” he said. “With Uber for Business, that means building technology that powers a wide range of transportation needs for business’ employees, customers, and goods: everything from business travel to daily commutes; from rides to company events and food delivery; and from caregiver and patient transportation to freight.
“We’re in the early stages of finding solutions to all of these business needs—and we’re going to do it more efficiently and ultimately save people money.”
When pushed for more details on the service – how, for example, load matching would be dealt with, and how automation factors into their vision – Uber told Inverse.com in early December that it didn’t “have any new information to share” at that time, and suggested that more information would be given in the new year.
At present, Uber Freight does have a sparsely populated website, yet information on the company’s plans remains scant and largely unconfirmed. Watch this space.
Last month, an anonymous source at Amazon leaked news of a similar ‘Uber for Freight’-type project in process at the commerce giant, slated for release in summer 2017. This year it will certainly be interesting to see the behemoths of the transportation and commerce industries take on the freight task with their new offerings, coming up against the logistics industry’s big players.