Uber, Otto expand self driving truck effort
October 12, 2016
Uber owned Otto trucks is planning to double the size of its fleet, create partnerships with independent truckers and launch an on-road freight haulage business next year.
Separately, Otto founder Anthony Levandowski has laid out a vision of "no touch freight" which he argues will lead to far greater efficiencies in logistics and truck economics.
According to Lior Ron, Otto co-founder, Otto will expand its fleet of trucks from six to around 15. The company is also setting up partnerships with independent truckers.
Next year, Otto technology equipped trucks will begin hauling freight deliveries to warehouses and stores.
Otto was founded by a number of former Google employees who had had key positions in that company's self driving car programme.
The start-up was bought by Uber for an estimated $680 million in August.
Otto wants to compete directly with brokers, and already begun selling services to shippers, truck fleets and independent truck drivers.
The acquisition of the company has been seen as Uber acquiring vital technology and expertise for its own self driving car project, which is currently undergoing trials in Pittsburgh.
However, Ron has underlined that Uber is planning to develop Otto as a free-standing business to take on established players in the trucking and logistics market.
The company has begun a campaign to attract independent truckers to sign up, and claims to have had expressions of interest from thousands of truckers in its offering.
Otto is also reported to have begun actively selling brokerage services to shippers and truck fleets.
The company's pitch is that it can cut shippers and freight companies' costs by using their technology platform to better match freight to vehicles.