Uber launched its newest app last Thursday — a trucking dispatch service called Uber Freight.
According to Recode, the app works in much the same way as the ridesharing services for everyday riders and drivers. But in this case, it matches commercial shippers with truck drivers looking for a job, with freight rides booked several weeks in advance or on the same day.
With Uber Freight, independent truck drivers don’t need to negotiate their fee. Instead, the price is predetermined and guaranteed. Once a driver gets a shipment to its destination, the payment begins processing, and a driver will be paid within seven days.
“Distance is certainly one of the strongest factors that determines our prices, as well as cargo type, location and others,” said a spokesperson. “Like Uber ridesharing, we take into account overall marketplace dynamics to surge prices overtime to match supply and demand.”
The company also revealed that there will be surge pricing. If Uber Freight is able to sign up enough shippers, drivers will be able to simply swipe through a marketplace of loads and choose which jobs they want to book. Uber says it has exclusive contracts with all of its current shippers and is mainly shipping out of Texas for the time being.
But there is concern over the long-term ramifications for drivers using the service. Uber Freight was created after the company acquired self-driving trucking company Otto. So while the app will help the company build a shipping network and generate revenue right now, it will also give Uber the data and the network it needs to create a driverless truck business in the future.
The company does have some competition, including Convo, which is backed by Greylock Partners and has raised $18.5 million.