Uber buys autonomous truck start up

Just two months after purchasing autonomous truck start-up Otto, Uber has vowed to have shake-up the US trucking industry next year, and plans to have self-driving trucks on highways.

Uber bought Otto for $680 million in August in a bid to enter the long-haul freight business, complementing its widely adopted ride-sharing app and recently launched UberEats platform.

Uber and Otto plan to introduce mapping, tracking and vehicle hailing to the industry.

While acknowledging the ultimate goal of autonomous trucks is still decades off, Otto co-founder Lior Ron believes Uber’s tracking technology is the key to increasing the efficiency of the truck industry.

“With Uber, you press a button and an Uber shows up after three minutes,” Ron said.

“In freight, the golden standard is that it takes the broker hours of phone calls to find your truck. That’s how efficient the industry is today.”

Uber is in the process of negotiating with shippers, fleets and independent drivers on how to utilise the technology and the advantages it has over traditional freight brokers. However, it is expected the tech company will face a similar battle to the one it faced from the taxi industry.