Today marks an important milestone in the next era of logistics. Uber Freight has announced a strategic partnership with Waabi, a global leader in generative AI and simulation for autonomous technology, to accelerate the safe deployment of AI-powered autonomous trucks at scale. This agreement brings together Waabi’s core technology—the Waabi Driver—with Uber Freight’s vast logistics platform, marketplace technology, and expertise in autonomous trucking operations to deliver a turnkey driver-as-a-service solution that will be the first of its kind.
This announcement comes at a time when innovation is needed most in the logistics industry. The national supply chain is plagued by challenges, including an estimated 35% of miles being driven empty and a looming shortage of truck drivers, expected to reach 160,000 by 2028. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2019, large truck crashes accounted for more than 5,000 lives lost—and 87% of large truck crashes are caused by human error, according to historical data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Autonomous trucks have a tremendous potential to address these issues, in addition to increasing asset utilization, improving road safety, reducing carbon footprints, and positively reimaging the career outlook and quality of life for truck drivers.
The industry-first driver-as-a-service solution at the center of the partnership will pair the Waabi Driver with Uber Freight’s technology and services to offer carriers the most technologically advanced, operationally efficient and holistic model for safely and effectively adopting autonomous trucks within their fleets. In the future, carriers with Waabi Driver-enabled trucks will have the option to deploy their assets instantly and seamlessly on the Uber Freight network, taking advantage of continuously optimized routes, as well as an ecosystem of partnerships with transfer hub infrastructure, roadside assistance, and national maintenance providers.
By providing carriers with the services and infrastructure to deploy, maintain and manage their autonomous assets seamlessly, the bundled solution can help increase asset utilization significantly as well as drive profitability for carriers of all sizes. Over the next ten years, the two companies also intend to deploy billions of miles of Waabi Driver capacity alongside carrier partners on the Uber Freight network, ensuring the technology will have a meaningful impact for shippers and carriers over the long term.
“This exciting partnership allows us to bring Waabi’s revolutionary generative AI innovation to the forefront of our vast freight network, providing our shippers and carriers nationwide with the tools needed to embrace autonomous technology and transform their operations safely and efficiently,” said Lior Ron, Founder and CEO of Uber Freight. “We are thrilled to work with them to usher in a new era for our industry.”
To gather valuable insights for the joint solution, Waabi Driver trucks have been deployed on the Uber Freight network giving Uber Freight customers early access to autonomous freight capacity. The commercial loads, the first of which ran this week, will run regularly between Dallas and Houston and give the thousands of shippers and carriers on the Uber Freight network an opportunity to better understand what the future of supply chain operations will look like and how autonomous trucks can improve overall network efficiency. As the partnership continues to advance, commercial operations will quickly expand to other key lanes in Texas and beyond.
“Uber Freight has the scaled freight network and marketplace expertise needed to efficiently and safely deploy our AI-first self-driving technology at scale,” said Raquel Urtasun, Founder and CEO of Waabi. “The unique solution we are building together will empower carriers to dynamically and effectively deploy the Waabi Driver while also unlocking critical capacity for shippers and driving value throughout the supply chain. Together with Uber Freight, we are accelerating the future of autonomous trucking.”
A robust technical integration between the two companies will enable shippers to tap directly into Waabi Driver capacity from Uber Freight’s digital tools, making it easy to transform procurement strategies and incorporate efficient and reliable autonomous capacity into their day-to-day operations. With $18 billion of Freight Under Management, Uber Freight is uniquely positioned to improve reliability and cost-effectiveness for shippers by optimizing routes and combining shipments, ultimately maximizing utilization of autonomous and human-driven trucks across entire networks.