Trucks allow the economy to function. There would be no sprawling grocery stores, online shopping, or other businesses without this vast network of drivers criss-crossing the country. Yet many people don’t think about this industry — until now, thanks to competing initiatives from Uber and Amazon, which are both working on services to change the future of trucking.
Both companies have similar ideas. Uber has slowly launched a service called Uber Freight that connects businesses that need to ship things with truckers willing to drive them. Amazon is said to be working on a similar product, first for its own use, and then for everyone else who needs to find a way to get a product from a California warehouse to a Vermont doorstep.
Uber Freight makes sense. The company is built on connecting people with drivers, and it acquired a startup called Otto in August to build autonomous trucks capable of traversing the country’s highways without the assistance of a human driver. Uber could use the service to make shipping more convenient, teach its self-driving trucks, and usher in the era of autonomy.