Over the last 8 years, Uber has gone from a convenient car service to branching out into a long-haul trucking company with Uber Freight. Since its latest acquisition of Otto, a self-driving truck startup, for $650 million in 2016, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is embracing the challenging new venture with the same excitement and tenacity that made Uber a success.
Uber is no stranger to automation in the transportation industry; a pilot program in April 2016 had self-driving cars pick up random customers in Pittsburgh with a human in the drivers seat (a legal requirement) and a co-pilot taking notes. The trips were free of charge and were used as a touch point to promote the car’s capabilities. Uber plans on using Otto, a company that builds hardware kits to automate pre-existing truck models, as a launching pad into the automated trucking and freight industry.
In October 2016, a truck was equipped with Otto’s hardware kit, including two cameras for lane detection; a LIDAR sensor to create a 3D environment; two front-facing radar sensors to detect obstacles and other vehicles on the road, and a GPS sensor to help pinpoint the truck’s location. The vehicle made the first ever driverless commercial cargo delivery to Colorado Springs. A driver, who only took control of the vehicle once the truck entered city limits, monitored the 100-mile trip.
With innovations from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group and Otto’s automation-enabling hardware, Uber Freight is poised to be a success story that could change the long-haul transportation game for years to come. With less of a need for drivers, shipping costs change just as dramatically. Stay ahead of the changes with Intelligent Audit’s auditing software, meant to catch billing errors from new, unfamiliar price matrices.