DALLAS — Uber Freight and Aurora have announced that they will be autonomously hauling freight between Dallas/Fort Worth and El Paso, Texas, for packing solutions distributor Veritiv through and beyond the 2022 holiday season.
According to a news release, the “collaboration brings together the power of Aurora Horizon, Aurora’s autonomous trucking service, with the scale of Uber Freight’s logistics network to unlock autonomous volume for carriers and provide a unique and optimal environment for customers like Veritiv to deliver goods efficiently and reliably in any market condition.”
These autonomous rigs still have human drivers, using them in what Uber Freight and Aurora officials describe as “a hybrid model, with self-driving trucks handling the long-haul middle mile and local carriers from the Uber Freight platform on the shorter first-and last-mile hauls.”
Mike Walkenhorst, senior vice president of global operations and developing businesses for Veritiv, said that his company’s next-generation supply chain strategy is to create and sustain a competitive advantage in operations with innovative and efficient technologies.
“This autonomous vehicle pilot aligns with our strategy to assess new technologies to determine the best fit for our business and our customers. We are proud to be at the forefront of testing this technology,” he added.
In the pilot, packaging products and goods are autonomously driven to Veritiv warehouses, including retailers, schools and healthcare providers in western Texas and New Mexico. These packages are autonomously transported more than 600 miles between Aurora’s terminals.
The three companies will closely monitor and examine data on delivery efficiency, transit times, operations at the transfer hubs, autonomous capabilities and performance and customer satisfaction, according to the news release.
Uber Freight called these data points “instrumental in creating a blueprint for how autonomous trucks will be seamlessly integrated and safely deployed and scaled across the Uber Freight network in the coming years.”
“Our extensive and efficient digital marketplace is a key ingredient for autonomous freight deployment,” said Lior Ron, CEO of Uber Freight. “As the preferred marketplace for autonomous trucks, we are incredibly excited to partner with these two companies laser-focused on paving the way for a hybrid network, together. It’s an honor to get in the trenches with Veritiv’s commitment to next-generation supply chains and Aurora’s best-in-class innovation to better understand how autonomous freight can and will become a reality.”
Uber Freight’s multiphase commercial autonomous trucking pilot began in December 2021 “to better understand how the Aurora Driver will help carriers maximize fleet utilization, broaden opportunities to safely haul goods and streamline supply operations,” the news release stated.
The pilot continues to grow, with autonomous loads more than doubling over the past year, the news release stated.
“The holidays are a challenging time for the logistics industry. We’re crafting Aurora Horizon to help carriers of all sizes alleviate some of the supply chain pressures that typically accompany them,” said Sterling Anderson, chief product officer and co-founder of Aurora. “Deploying our technology with the Uber Freight team over this 600-mile trip at the peak of the season is an outgrowth of our mutual commitment to ensure that Aurora Horizon can enable carriers of all sizes to safely and efficiently haul freight 24/7/365 on the Uber Freight network.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.