CargoX, a Brazilian truck-hailing company, has taken a new round of $20 million from well-known investment groups Soros and Goldman Sachs. Qualcomm, a major American microchip company that is developing components for self-driving systems, also participated in the round.
What is most interesting about CargoX is the many ways in which it goads drivers into collecting data about their trips. Brazil lacks robust roadway infrastructure: Trucks are prone to getting hijacked and roads are more difficult to navigate. Because of the difficulties of driving a truck in Brazil, the company encourages drivers to report robberies, blocked roads, the location of truck stops, showers, and other relevant data.
“We did a partnership with [a] child trafficking [organization],” says founder and CEO of CargoX, Federico Vega. “If the trucker sees that he can report it.” That program is not currently active, but Vega says it could be implemented long term. The circumstantial data and the system in place for collecting it is valuable to the success of CargoX’s matching business, but it could also be interesting to Qualcomm as it develops and invests in driverless technology. So far, CargoX has not gone so far as to install data-gathering sensors on trucks.RR