Uber announced today that it’s adding two new features to the Uber Freight app (iOS and Android), the service it launched for truckers back in May. Both are meant to make it easier for drivers to string together multiple jobs, which would make it more likely that they’ll keep booking with Uber instead of more traditional online cargo load boards or brokerages.
One, called Post My Truck, allows truckers to tell the app where and when they will be available with an empty truck. They can also specify what kind of job they’re looking for (short, medium, long haul, etc), and will then get notifications when they’re matched with cargo loads that fit their preferences. In spirit, it’s similar to the way Uber cab drivers mark themselves “available” so that they show up on the riders’ map, though the company says the two features work in different ways technologically.
The other new feature is called “Reloads,” which takes a different approach to helping truckers find their next jobs. Instead of the driver flagging that they will be available at a certain time and place, the Reloads feature shows up on the page that describes a job they’re considering, or one they’ve already taken. There, Uber Freight app will show other loads at or near the destination that job will take them to. This means truckers won’t have to start totally new search of the jobs available in the city they might be headed to, nor will they have to wait until they get there to find a new gig.
These new features pile on top of others that Uber has added throughout the year, like the “For You” page it released in August, which algorithmically curates potential jobs in a section of the Freight app that a driver might like.
The ability to rapidly roll out these kinds of features, along with the ease at which Uber Freight is able to borrow ideas or technological framework from the main Uber app, give it some particularly strong firepower when it comes to cracking the trucking industry. Smart recommendations are the kind of thing that traditional brokerages aren’t really able to offer, and are in some ways they’re even disincentivized to try. These features could also make Uber Freight a more familiar service for younger people who are just entering or will someday enter the trucking workforce.
Of course, we don’t know how well all this is working yet, since Uber hasn’t shared any numbers on how many drivers are using the service, or how many jobs are booked on average.