A few months after public launch of the Uber Freight brokerage’s smartphone app aimed at connecting owner-operators to its book of customer freight, the ride-sharing giant’s affiliated freight broker is tweaking both its regions of emphasis and its app based on driver feedback, company reps say.
A new recommendation engine within the app, developed in collaboration with data scientists from the ride-share side of the business, will be capable of delivering push notifications to owner-operators when new loads are available, based on their past load history and/or set preferences. The “data-science team has worked on creating these algorithms,” says Senior Product Manager Eric Berdinis, so that “recommendations are continuously improving to make the experience more personalized.”
This approach marks “a shift in how we approach users using the app,” Berdinis says.
The app will continue to show posted available freight within a driver’s selected set of criteria, but will now also make recommendations based on the carrier’s load history with the platform and their personal preferences.
Berdinis says the function, which will be made available through an app update beginning to push out today to the entire universe of users, is designed to put the loads the driver is most likely to want in front of them more quickly.
“Local drivers and long haul drivers have specific wants,” Berdinis says. “Do they like loads that take them home or do they like loads that have a certain quality to them?”
The more loads a driver accepts through Uber Freight, Berdinis says, the more the platform learns about their preferences. A “For You” pack will show the driver all of their personalized recommendations.
New regions of freight emphasis
After piloting its service largely with loads coming out of the state of Texas, the company today is operating in the entire lower 48, representatives say. However, today Uber Freight announces significant new regional emphases in its effort to recruit app users and freight customers in major metros across California, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and the Chicago-Midwest region.
While emphasis is placed on major corridors and freight lanes in the new regions – which, including Texas, cover more than 25 percent of the country’s drivers and loads – carriers from all over each state will see increasingly more available freight in their regions within the app.
Berdinis says the new areas were targeted through driver feedback following the company’s launch in May, expressing desire for higher volume on connecting lanes. “It was pretty clear,” he says of the comments, “[drivers] want more loads in more places.”
Uber Freight Director Bill Driegert says the company has grown its freight volume 10-fold in the last eight months and will use the new markets to put more local and short-haul regional loads in the marketplace.
“Drivers like the loads that they can take several in a day, or take a load every single day,” Berdinis says of the company’s focus to keep most available loads short-haul, noting long-haul loads are not as consistently available. “We want to provide an experience where every time you open the app, there’s something for you.” –Todd Dills contributed to this report