Waymo Via expands autonomous transportation operations in Texas, Arizona and California: TechCrunch

Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous arm, is building a center dedicated to truck transportation in Dallas and is partnering with Ryder for two-move fleet management services to seriously expand its autonomous transportation operations in Texas, Arizona and California.

The news comes just a couple of months after Waymo announced a $ 2.5 billion fundraiser it would use to continue to grow its autonomous driving platform, the Waymo Driver, as well as its equipment. Waymo has been increasing fifth-generation driver tests in Class 8 trucks, transporting goods for carriers like JB Hunt on Interstate 45 between Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, and working with Daimler Trucks to develop a redundant vehicle platform. robust level 4, according to a company spokesman. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, level 4 autonomy means that the vehicle can be driven without a human being, but only in predefined areas.

Waymo has already opened ground for the new 9-acre transportation hub, which will be built specifically for Waymo Via, the company’s autonomous transportation operations, in Dallas-Forth Worth to serve one of the country’s busiest corridors. Designed for commercial use, the hub is expected to house hundreds of trucks as the company climbs the region and amplifies larger, more complex stand-alone tests. Waymo says it will help the company spread operations in Texas beyond I-45 and I-10 and I-20. The location is well located to support long-haul routes across state borders and connect with Waymo’s Phoenix operations center. Waymo said he plans to move into the facility during the first half of next year.

This is where the Ryder association comes in. Downtown Dallas will be a central launching point to test not only the Waymo driver, but also its transfer center model, which is a mix of automatic and manual trucks that optimize transfer centers near highways to ensure the Waymo driver adheres to major tracks and human drivers manage first and last mile deliveries. The scale of this model will require a high level of organization and Ryder’s fleet management services and standardized fleet maintenance at more than 500 facilities should be up to par.

The partnership includes fleet maintenance, inspections and roadside assistance at all Waymo Via centers and test sites, including the new Dallas facility. Given Ryder’s size and influence and Waymo’s access to AV fleet data, the two companies will also work on a plan for autonomous truck maintenance and optimized performance.

“While this partnership initially focuses on fleet maintenance, we see many opportunities to collaborate on autonomous transportation operations with the goal of deploying these trucks on a large scale,” said Karen Jones, head of marketing and head of new product development at Ryder, in a statement. . “We have already collaborated in the design and layout of the new Waymo facility in Dallas to ensure that it is optimized for the service capacity of the trucks and for the model of transfer center that they plan to follow in the near future . The autonomous class 8 technology is being taken advantage of quickly and Ryder is about to become a leader, not only in the maintenance of trucks, but also in the management of the unique logistics of the autonomous operations ”.