Uber Acquires Otto: Autonomous Trucks Coming Soon?
The topic of self-driving trucks has become more prominent in recent years. These types of vehicles have gained the interest of many organizations both inside and outside the trucking industry. Their ability to provide safe, predictable, consistent transport solutions has led many to invest time and money to help further the goal of bringing autonomous commercial vehicles out of the realm of hypothetical discussion and onto the highway.
Uber is a well-known name in the transportation industry. This unique, decentralized operation has made a large impact with their unique business model and their commitment to mixing technology with transportation. The organization recently acquired Otto, an organization focused on developing and refining autonomous technologies in the freight transportation and delivery industry.
Otto had recently made headlines thanks to their development of a package which would allow some heavy-duty trucks to operate autonomously on the highway. The organization has spoken about their desire to conduct plenty of tests by the end of 2017. Uber’s acquisition of the company provides new opportunities for high-tech, autonomous vehicles to make their way into the freight industry sooner rather than later.
Otto founder Lior Ron said: “Basically (Uber and Otto are) starting a commercial transportation business. Specifically, we’re going to build on Otto’s capabilities for self-driving trucks and introduce other ways to help the freight industry and truck drivers.” He also mentioned that these types of vehicles could help to increase capacity as Uber’s passenger platform management system could translate well into the freight industry.
Planning out a route strategically can help to minimize loss and maximize output, resulting in fewer wasted resources and a stronger overall operation. Uber has previously been involved in the trucking industry, as the company’s co-founder Garret Camp is an investor in Convoy, an on-demand service which can match up shippers with a truck while also providing tracking and pricing information.