Uber Freight and Volvo Autonomous Solutions are partnering to deploy Volvo trucks on the Uber Freight network, offering autonomous freight capacity to Uber Freight shippers on select routes, starting in Texas.
The partnership involves the deep integration of Volvo’s autonomous transport solutions with Uber Freight’s logistics platform. It’s Uber Freight’s first commercial collaboration with an autonomous fleet, and it will also serve as one of Volvo Autonomous Solutions’ first customers to pilot their hub-to-hub autonomous offering.
The news marks the beginning of a strategic partnership between Uber Freight and VAS. Volvo said the partnership is part of its key customer program for shippers, carriers, logistics service providers, and freight brokers. As a part of the program, VAS is forming strategic partnerships with key customers to pilot and eventually commercialize autonomous transport solutions.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions is also working with Aurora to develop and scale a safe and efficient autonomous transport solution with the Aurora Driver and Volvo’s on-highway truck offering. In September 2021, the two companies debuted the first autonomous VNL prototype, Volvo’s flagship long-haul truck.
The autonomous hauling solution offered by Volvo Autonomous Solutions is based on transport as a service (TaaS) and includes a vehicle purpose-built for autonomous driving, a virtual driver, required infrastructure, operations and uptime support as well as a cloud solution that controls the transport system and manages logistics flows.
Vision of a Hybrid-Autonomous Freight Future
The two companies envision a hybrid future where autonomous and manually driven trucks work together to move goods safely and efficiently using a hub-to-hub model. Under this model, autonomous trucks will take on the long-haul portion of the transport mission while manually driven trucks complete local operations. Hub-to-hub will also ease some of the burden of increasing demand for freight while enabling drivers to shift into short-haul jobs closer to home, according to the announcement.
Aurora has been developing autonomous trucks with Volvo since March 2021 and debuted the first autonomous VNL in September 2021. Uber Freight has also been an early customer of Aurora since December 2021. Uber Freight and Aurora launched a second autonomous route this month.
“By integrating our autonomous transport solution with Uber Freight’s marketplace, we have the possibility to learn about customer needs and build a solution that benefits the entire industry,” said Sasko Cuklev, head of On-Road Solutions, Volvo Autonomous Solutions, “and do this at a time when the industry faces unprecedented challenges and needs it the most.”
“VAS. is a proven leader in autonomous technology,” said Lior Ron, Uber Freight CEO. “The shippers we work with are innovative and often early adopters of emerging technology. Our ability to expand access to VAS autonomous transport solutions unlocks greater access to reliable capacity, improving the efficiency and sustainability of their supply chains.”
Uber Freight notes that it continues to deepen its collaboration with other companies, from driver-as-a-service technology providers like Aurora and Waymo to OEMs and transportation-as-a-service providers like VAS.