Ryder System Inc. will provide maintenance for Waymo Via as the Google-backed autonomous driving software developer begins revenue-generating freight runs in Texas from a new transfer hub that Ryder helped design.
Miami-based Ryder (NYSE: R) also is working with Waymo Via rival TuSimple to share some of its 500 maintenance facilities to help TuSimple expand its autonomous freight network nationwide.
“The startups love to work with Ryder because we have this diversity,” Karen Jones, Ryder executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told FreightWaves in July.
“We operate fleets so they can pilot with us to test out their technology and run the capacity on our fleets. They also love us because we have real estate and assets that they can leverage for these hubs.”
Texas test runs
Waymo (NASDAQ: GOOGL), which is comparatively new to autonomous trucking after growing from the original Google self-driving car program, announced test freight runs with J.B. Hunt Transport Services in June.
Ryder and Waymo will partner on servicing and maintenance practices for autonomously driven trucks across Waymo Via sites in Texas, Arizona, California, Michigan and Ohio, as well as roadside service between hubs.
“There are many synergies between our Waymo Via vision and operations and Ryder’s expertise and resources,” Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for Waymo Via, said in a press release Wednesday.
Ryder, which may launch its own autonomous trucking fleet, could be a potential customer for Waymo Via’s autonomous software Waymo Driver, which Daimler Trucks North America is planning for its Freightliner Cascadia.
“While this partnership initially focuses on fleet maintenance, we see many opportunities to collaborate on autonomous trucking operations in order to successfully deploy these trucks at scale,” Jones said.
“Already, we’ve collaborated on the layout and design of Waymo’s new Dallas facility to ensure it’s optimized for serviceability of trucks and for the transfer hub model they plan to pursue in the near future.”
Waymo has accumulated more than 20 million miles on public roads across 10 U.S. states and 20 billion miles in simulation over the past decade.