Uber Freight arrives, aims to transform freight logistics forever

11/03/2018

Uber has, at last, announced the full launch of Uber Freight - the company's latest move to extend its on-demand transportation model from taxis and people to, well, everything else.

The company has already branched out to food delivery via UberEats and local delivery via UberRush, and had initially soft-launched its freight arm back in September 2016 in and around the Dallas area.

While there are a number of similar services on the market already, including the likes of DAT and DOFT, Uber's super-funded entry into the market and a take on the traditional brokerage system that owner-operators and small carriers are likely to find refreshing, means the launch is likely to be as transformative as it hopes.

Of course, the elephant in the room for those same truckers is Uber's high-profile push to develop driverless vehicles. While Uber is on the record as saying its Freight service is currently an entirely separate effort from its autonomous vehicle work, it's not hard to see how a mature Uber Freight network might soon serve to connect shippers with robots as much as is does humans. 

Uber acquired Otto, a company dedicated to developing autonomous trucks, last year. However, it was that purchase that ultimately led to Uber meeting Alphabet's driverless car outfit, Waymo, in court, after the latter called foul over the use its trade secrets.

As long as litigation holds up the emergence of autonomous trucking, human truckers and carriers can be confident they'll be well served by Uber's aggressive entry into the US logistics market.

By Romily Broad

Source: Supply Chain Digital