September 21, 2023 marked a significant milestone for Waabi and the logistics industry. They have announced a strategic partnership with Uber Freight to accelerate the safe deployment of AI-powered autonomous trucks at scale.
The agreement pairs Waabi’s core technology—the Waabi Driver—with Uber Freight’s vast logistics platform and marketplace technology to deliver a turnkey driver-as-a-service solution that will be the first of its kind. This unique solution will empower carriers to dynamically and effectively deploy the Waabi Driver while also unlocking critical capacity for shippers and driving value throughout the supply chain.
By providing carriers with the services and infrastructure to deploy, maintain and manage their autonomous assets seamlessly, our bundled solution can help increase asset utilization significantly as well as drive profitability for carriers of all sizes. Over the next ten years, Waabi and Uber Freight also intend to deploy billions of miles of Waabi Driver capacity alongside carrier partners on the Uber Freight network, ensuring the technology will have a meaningful impact for shippers and carriers over the long term.
To gather valuable insights for the joint solution, our autonomous trucks have already been deployed on the Uber Freight network, giving their customers early access to autonomous freight capacity. The autonomous commercial loads, the first of which ran this week, will run regularly between Dallas and Houston and give the thousands of shippers and carriers on the Uber Freight network an opportunity to better understand what the future of supply chain operations will look like and how autonomous trucks can improve overall network efficiency. As the partnership continues to advance, we will quickly expand to other key lanes in Texas and beyond.
A new model for AI-powered autonomous truck adoption and deployment
While autonomous trucks represent a huge opportunity for the logistics industry to increase asset utilization, improve road safety, lower carbon emissions, and improve drivers’ livelihoods, reaching their full potential hinges on integrating into a scaled freight network that can optimize load matching, orchestrate hub-to-hub operations, and provide carriers a streamlined experience for onboarding, load booking and execution, trailer hand-offs, payments and asset maintenance.
The industry-first driver-as-a-service solution at the center of our partnership will pair the Waabi Driver with Uber Freight’s technology and services to offer carriers the most technologically advanced, operationally efficient and holistic model for safely and effectively adopting autonomous trucks within their fleets. In the future, carriers with Waabi Driver-enabled trucks will have the option to deploy their assets instantly and seamlessly on the Uber Freight network, taking advantage of continuously optimized routes, as well as an ecosystem of partnerships with transfer hub infrastructure, roadside assistance, and national maintenance providers.
A robust technical integration will enable shippers to tap directly into Waabi Driver capacity from Uber Freight’s digital tools, making it easy to transform procurement strategies and incorporate efficient and reliable autonomous capacity into their day-to-day operations. With $18 billion of Freight Under Management, Uber Freight is uniquely positioned to improve reliability and cost-effectiveness for shippers by optimizing routes and combining shipments, ultimately maximizing utilization of autonomous and human-driven trucks across entire networks.
Importantly, this partnership will make it effortless for carriers and shippers to unleash our generative AI-powered technology within their own operations. We’re tackling autonomous driving in a new way, the Waabi Driver is the first and only autonomous truck solution to be built around a foundation AI model, which unlike traditional approaches that require painstaking manual code adjustments, can automatically learn from data and generalize its learnings to all the situations it might encounter on the road, including those that it has never seen before.
The Waabi Driver’s development is front loaded within our revolutionary simulator, Waabi World — the most scalable, highest fidelity closed-loop simulator to ever exist. In Waabi World, generative AI reconstructs digital twins automatically from raw sensor data. These digital twins can then be modified to create infinite potential new scenarios, exposing the Waabi Driver to the vast diversity of experiences needed to hone its driving skills, including common scenarios and safety-critical edge cases. This approach drastically reduces the need to drive in the real world, resulting in a solution for carriers and shippers that is not only more sustainable, but also smarter, safer, and more scalable.
Accelerating the future of logistics and driving positive change across safety, efficiency, jobs and the environment
This partnership comes at a time when logistics innovation is needed most. Not only is the industry facing considerable inefficiencies across supply chains, with an estimated ~20-35% of miles being driven empty, and a looming shortage of truck drivers, expected to reach 160,000 by 2028, but persistent safety issues continue to plague the industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2019, large truck crashes accounted for more than 5,000 lives lost—and 87% of large truck crashes involve human error, according to historical data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Additionally, transportation is the only sector with emissions that are still growing in US & Europe and freight trucking, in particular, accounts for nearly 7% of US CO2 emissions.
Autonomous trucks have tremendous potential to address these issues, significantly increasing asset utilization, reducing carbon emissions, improving road safety, and positively reimagining the career outlook and quality of life for truck drivers. A recent study by the Department of Transportation found that autonomous trucks could actually stimulate job growth and increase total U.S. employment by 26,400 to 35,100 jobs per year on average. Together, we look forward to advancing logistics and delivering on the promise of autonomous trucks.