Uber Freight is doubling down on software-as-a-service, launching what it calls its "most comprehensive" TMS update yet, a software platform to allow shippers access to more carriers, and a new generative AI chatbot for shippers, the company announced Thursday during its Deliver 2023 conference in Carlsbad, California.Sinceacquiring Transplace in 2021 for $2.25 billion, Uber Freight has invested $120M on scaling logistics software, data-enabled insights tools, and generative AI, CEO Lior Ron said during a virtual press conference with trucking media.
Uber Freight Exchange launching to democratize bidding
Uber Freight is launching Uber Freight Exchange, a standalone software platform open to all shippers and carriers in which a shipper can run freight auctions with its own carriers in addition to Uber Freight’s network of 100,000 carriers across the U.S. Uber Freight Exchange features integrated communication, bid functionality, and historical performance reporting.
“If you’re a mega shipper,” Ron said, “you just don’t have the time, effort, money, staff to deal with small fleets or medium-sized fleets.”
Uber Freight Exchange is planned to also cover the spot market in the future, according to a company announcement.
The company is rolling out what it called the most comprehensive update of its TMS since the software was initially launched by Transplace in 2005. The update focuses on enhanced shipment visibility and expanding global, end-to-end shipment visibility across modes including rail, ocean, and air.
Uber Freight's chatbot for the supply chain
“We are completely rethinking the entire company is an AI first approach,” Ron said, “and we are fully integrating AI into every facet of the company in every facet of our operation. We have basically just over the last 12 months engaged in a full transformation.”
The company unveiled Insights AI, a generative-AI-powered insights tool that leverages large language models to provide insights from Uber Freight’s transportation data. Insights uses 45 data points from tens of millions of shipments from the last two years, and the company announced it plans to add more details to the data set, which will double the amount of data points for each shipment by the end of 2023.
According to Ron, Insights AI is a “co-pilot” for logistics that acts as a chatbot allowing users “every logistics question their heart desires and get instant answers to all of that, within seconds, fully throughout all the data in the organization, across every facet of the service.”
He gave examples of questions users could ask, such as inquiring where an operation’s bottlenecks are, or which warehouses are performing the worst. Uber Freight is also pitching Insights to carriers as a tool to reduce detention time, as shippers can determine which facilities have the longest detention times and receive suggestions to shorten waits.
“By harnessing the capabilities of advanced AI, Insights AI empowers shippers with seamless and immediate access to their proprietary data as well as nuanced insights from across the industry,” said Minji Lee, director and head of applied and data science at Uber Freight. “Built on one of the world’s largest live transportation datasets, Insights AI will transform decision-making in logistics, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver benefits throughout the entire supply chain.”
The company has also recently rolled out AI and machine learning technology for shipment network optimization, including an ETA model that works in tandem with the company’s Probability of Late Arrival (PLA) model. Uber Freight has also developed AI models to aid its customer service representatives and software engineers—coders who have seen a 30% increase in productivity, according to Ron.
“Insights AI reimagines transportation planning as a fully empowered exercise and truly represents the next generation of logistics technology,” said Raj Subbiah, head of product at Uber Freight. “By bringing together the power of generative AI with our deep expertise and an unparalleled transportation dataset, we’re completely transforming the way logistics decisions are made across service, cost, routing guides, planning, and tracking.”
Uber Freight expands trailer pool program and cross-border logistics
Uber Freight is also expanding its trailer pool program, Powerloop, from three to 20 states.
“Powerloop is now ready for primetime,” Ron said, adding that the company has “hundreds and hundreds” of trailers in its pool to allow owner-operators, smaller fleets, and more to haul drop-and-hook, power-only loads.
The company also announced it is opening six cross-border locations, with over 1,000 employees throughout Mexico, to meet a 20% increase in manufacturing production across its customer base due to continued nearshoring efforts.
See also: Uber Freight partners with Waymo Via
Additionally, Uber Freight continues to gain ground in the autonomous vehicle space, achieving a milestone of 100,000 autonomous miles driven on the network in September. Last week, the company announced a partnership with Waabi to accelerate AV deployment.
"When you have a supply chain that's expansive and complex as ours, cutting-edge technology isn't a 'nice-to-have'—it's essential," stated Randy Cooper, director of transportation at Del Monte Foods, in an Uber Freight release. "Our partnership with Uber Freight's managed transportation and innovative technology has become our secret sauce as we serve our customers."