Waymo announces construction of trucking hub and Ryder partnership

Google’s autonomous vehicle company Waymo is to boost self-driving trucking operations in Texas, Arizona and California

  • Waymo is constructing a trucking hub in Dallas and is expanding operations in Arizona, California and Texas
  • The self-driving truck company also announced a partnership with Ryder
  • The double-announcement follows Waymo’s $2.5billion investment in June
  • Waymo is currently testing its fifth generation of its Driver on the Class 8 trucks

Waymo Via, Waymo’s autonomous truck unit, announced on Wednesday the construction of a hub for its fleet of autonomous trucks in Dallas, and a partnership with trucking company Ryder.

The double announcement came as Waymo prepares to grow its delivery operations across Texas, California and Arizona.

After raising $2.5 billion from outside investors in June, the Alphabet-owned company said today that its new primary operations center will be in a nine-acre site in South Dallas, and the company will move into it in the first half of 2022.

Th self-driving truck company has started testing on the fifth generation of its Driver on the Class 8 trucks fleet as it continues freight hauling for JB Hunt. 

Waymo Via has announced the construction of a trucking hub in Dallas, Texas

The hub will accommodate hundreds of trucks and personnel. It will also allow Waymo to expand in Texas beyond the I-10, I-20, and I-45 and will connect with the operation center in Phoenix

Waymo also announced a partnership with transportation and logistics company Ryder. Ryder will overlook Waymo’s operations and run scheduled preventative maintenance and as-needed incidental maintenance

Waymo had previously teamed up with Daimler Trucks to launch a vehicle fleet with autonomous SAE level 4 technology, meaning the vehicles will self drive but just in predefined areas, TechCrunch reported.       

The trucking hub’s location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is extremely strategic as it will allow Waymo to expand in Texas beyond the I-10, I-20, and I-45 and will connect with the operation center in Phoenix. 

‘It will be our primary operations center in Texas designed for commercial use with our carrier partners and be able to accommodate hundreds of trucks and personnel as we scale our presence in the region and enable increasingly large and complex testing needs on our path to fully autonomous operations,’ Rocky Garff, Waymo’s Head of Trucking Operations, said in a statement.  

At the hub, Waymo will test its fully autonomous Waymo Driver on Class 8 trucks, the highest classification of heavy duty trucks, with a weight of over 33,000 pounds.

The transfer hub model, a technology that is part manual and part automated and ensures the Wayno Driver sticks to the road, will also be tested at the hub. Human drivers will still be in charge of the first and last steps of the delivery process. 

Waymo’s partnership with Ryder could magnify further the scale of its operations and create an unprecedented design model for autonomous truck maintenance and efficiency. 

Waymo said it’s working together with Ryder to refine and evolve practices. 

In the partnership, inspections and roadside assistance are also included across all the testing sites. Ryder runs scheduled preventative maintenance and as-needed incidental maintenance and its staple organization skills are crucial for Waymo’s plans to become a reality. 

‘Ryder brings nearly 90 years of fleet management experience and has a national network of 500+ facilities that will offer access to standardized fleet maintenance across one network and enable us to scale efficiently,’ Graff said.

‘There are many synergies between our Waymo Via vision and operations and Ryder’s expertise and resources, and we look forward to working with the Ryder team to continue driving innovation in the trucking industry,’ Graff added.

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