A long-term strategic partnership between Uber Freight and Waymo Via has been announced, to connect their technologies and deploy autonomous trucks at scale on the Uber Freight network.
The agreement will, say the companies, see deep product integration and a long-term collaboration roadmap that involves building the tools and infrastructure specific to the successful deployment of autonomous trucks for Uber Freight’s shipper and carrier customers. Carriers that purchase trucks equipped with Waymo Driver in the future will be able to opt in to Uber Freight’s marketplace through user-friendly applications letting them deploy their autonomous assets on the Uber Freight network.
“Uber Freight’s network of shippers, carriers, and marketplace technology is a great match for the Waymo Driver,” commented Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking, Waymo Via. “Through this partnership, we can empower carriers to fully utilize their investments in the Waymo Via solution through Uber Freight and create a great experience for shippers, while keeping our focus on developing the core Driver technology. We’re really excited to see how this partnership can impact the logistics industry and solve critical challenges over the next decade and beyond.”
Uber states that these applications will provide a streamlined experience for onboarding, load booking and execution, trailer transfers and payment while also enabling an ecosystem where human drivers and autonomous trucks can collaborate effortlessly in a hybrid network to move freight.
Both companies say they envision a future where autonomous trucks tackle the long-haul portion of driving, easing some of the burden of the increasing demand for freight while also enabling drivers to shift into short-haul jobs that enhance the occupation’s quality of life. Additionally, the companies will explore what the transfer hub model could look like with Uber Freight’s universal trailer pool program, Powerloop, for fast transfers between autonomous trucks and human drivers, streamlining operations between the first, middle, and final mile.
As part of the long-term agreement, Waymo Via intends to reserve billions of miles of its goods-only capacity for the Uber Freight network. For shippers, the scale and depth of this partnership means that Uber Freight, alongside Transplace, will hopefully be able to integrate autonomy seamlessly into shipper networks and advise on how best to adjust their supply-chain strategies for a hybrid network future — where autonomously-driven trucks and human-driven trucks operate side by side to move freight more efficiently and safely.
“Partnering with Uber Freight opens up really interesting opportunities for us to help scale the Waymo Driver,” said Boris Sofman, head of engineering for trucking, Waymo Via. “By combining the Waymo Via solution with the Uber Freight platform, we’ll be able to apply proven marketplace technology to help carriers dynamically deploy the Waymo Driver where it’s most valuable and most capable. We can’t wait to see what else comes from this deep collaboration.”