Amazon quietly launched a new app called Relay that is designed to make it easier for truck drivers to pick up and drop off packages at various Amazon warehouse locations.
The app will allow Amazon to have access to millions of truck drivers all across the country, and allow them to more efficiently communicate regarding pick up and drop off.
Relay was released last month and is now available for Apple and Android devices.
Drivers that are driving for Amazon will be able to more quickly pick up and drop off by entering cargo information into the app. Entering this information will give them access a QR code that functions as their entry key to the security gate. This app is meant to streamline the manual process of badging in.
According to the app, Amazon has plans to build specialized Relay lanes so that drivers using the app won’t have to wait in lanes with drivers using manual badging in.
CNBC reported that Relay is Amazon’s first attempt at automating the truck delivery process, which is error-prone due to its reliance on phone calls and paperwork. Since so much cargo is transported in the U.S. via truck, the tech industry has begun to recognize the untapped potential and room for technological growth in the trucking industry. Companies like Uber, Convoy, and Trucker Path have already begun capitalizing on trucking industry opportunity.
According to Convoy, the trucking industry is worth $800 billion.
Creating an instant connection between Amazon’s business power and thousands of truck drivers across the U.S. has the potential to make real waves in the transportation industry as a whole. Further, Amazon is working to provide other services that would match the truck driver with cargo shippers.
The app, scheduled to launch next summer, is designed to make it easier for truck drivers to find shippers that need goods moved, much in the way Uber connects drivers with riders. It would also eliminate the need for a third-party broker, which typically charges a commission of about 15% for doing the middleman work, according to Business Insider.
Although Amazon has conquered the online shopping world, they are after the logistics and transportation world next. Over the past few years, Amazon has acquired thousands of trailer trucks, dozens of cargo planes and stakes in two cargo airlines for its Prime Air service. Amazon Flex was also introduced as a delivery service that allows package shipping on its own.
This is not the first time that Amazon has released a new product or service without notice prior to the debut. For example, Amazon opened dozens of stores and private label brands without making a big deal in the press or announcing the releases in any sort of grand way.
The reason that Amazon did not make a fuss over the release of Relay was to fix technical glitches and operating snags before the app undoubtedly started being used by thousands.
Still, the Android version of the app has less than 5,000 downloads and less than glowing reviews. The Apple version has had 3 software updates since its introduction to “fix bugs and performance improvements”. The Apple Relay has a rating of 4.9.