Just What Exactly Is Uber Freight?

It's unclear what Travis Kalanick's picture of a truck tagged with the term really means. 

travisk/Twitter

Following its buyout of self-driving truck startup Otto, Uber has been relatively silent on the whole autonomous freight shipping front—maybe the massive lawsuit it's been battling with Alphabet's Waymo has something to do with that. But over the weekend, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick shared a picture on Twitter of a truck that had "UBER FREIGHT" plastered on the side.

The image, uploaded Sunday, was geotagged from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city where Uber's self-driving car testing first initiated. Though the picture doesn't tell us much, it is a fresh reminder that Uber is actually continuing its pursuit to reshape how truck transport operates on American roads.

It's unclear what the Uber Freight project will actually grow to be. According toThe Verge, Uber will likely have a fleet of its own trucks that would be used for cargo hauling. From the picture, it doesn't look like there's all too much "self-driving" going on, but maybe the first levels of Uber Freight don't involve autonomous car tech. Additionally, the truck cab looks much less rigged up than the Otto semis we've previously seen, and also, it's just sitting there. But hey, it's gotta be something. 

Uber bought out Otto in August 2016 for $650 million. With taking control of the tech startup, former Google engineering and Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski became the man in charge of Uber's self-driving car operations. Now, that arrangement is being disputed by Waymo. The Google-owned autonomous car firm has claimed in court that Levandowski stole 14,000 secret documents from Google before launching Otto, and also that the whole launch and buyout of the self-driving truck startup was a cover-up used by Uber to steal the documents, Buzzfeed News reports.