Uber Freight is a new service from the ride hailing company that pairs up trucking companies, including independent operator truck drivers, with loads that need to be hauled from one place to another. The app looks a lot like the main Uber app, but it’s targeted towards vetted and approved drivers, who can browse for nearby available loads, see destination info, distance required and payment upfront and then tap to book.
The idea is to streamline something that used to take hours of back and forth negotiation via phone or other communication, putting it in a simple workflow with confirmation of job acceptance and rates paid within a few seconds.
Uber also notes that they’re addressing another big pain point when it comes to small trucking companies and independent drivers: payment speed. Like many freelancers, truckers typically have to wait at least 30 days to receive a pay out, while Uber Freight will pay “within a few days, fee-free, for every single load,” according to the company, and in cases where payments don’t go through so quickly, Uber will pay additional fees depending on the wait periods.
This service is entirely focused on drivers and trucking companies, and Uber makes not mention in its press materials around the launch of Otto, the automated trucking service it acquired last year and still operates separately. It would be hard to imagine a scenario in which Uber wouldn’t make use of information and data gleaned from this new service to help further develop its autonomous trucking ambitions however.
The key to making any kind of self-driving tech more robust is logging lots of miles on the road for systems to learn from, after all, and this can help them in that regard much like Uber’s regular consumer car service informs its self-driving pickup plans.