Uber and Waymo partner on future logistics

  • June 20, 2022
  • William Payne

Uber Freight and Waymo have agreed to connect their technologies and deploy trucks powered by Waymo’s autonomous driving tech across the Uber Freight network at scale.

The agreement envisages deep product integration and long-term collaboration between the two companies. It includes the creation of a roadmap for building tools and infrastructure necessary for the successful deployment of autonomous trucks for Uber Freight’s shipper and carrier customers.

Carriers that purchase trucks equipped with the Waymo Driver in the future will be able to opt-in to Uber Freight’s marketplace through user-friendly applications that enable them to deploy their autonomous vehicles on the Uber Freight network.

The applications are planned to provide a streamlined experience for onboarding, load booking and execution, trailer transfers, and payment. They will also provide an ecosystem where human drivers and autonomous trucks can work alongside one another in a hybrid network to move freight.

Both companies 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 programme, Powerloop, for easy and fast transfers between AV 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 be able to integrate autonomy 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. Uber Freight is also uniquely positioned to combine shipments from its $17B of Freight Under Management to maximise utilisation of autonomous and human-driven trucks, and continuously optimise routes once the technology is deployed, driving savings and improving service and reliability for shippers.

“Uber Freight’s extensive, efficient and reliable digital network is essential to making autonomous trucks a reality,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight. “We are uniquely positioned to be the preferred network for autonomous trucks, with the scale and the marketplace expertise to deploy autonomous trucks in a way that benefits the entire industry. This partnership is an exciting leap forward and we are proud to work alongside the amazing team at Waymo Via to pioneer a hybrid freight network that truly empowers carriers and will ring in a new era of logistics.”

“Uber Freight’s network of shippers, carriers, and marketplace technology is a great match for the Waymo Driver,” said Charlie Jatt, Head of Commercialisation for Trucking, Waymo Via. “Through this partnership, we can empower carriers to fully utilise 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.”

“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.”