Waymo Via, Alphabet’s self-driving car delivery arm, is launching a long-term strategic partnership with Uber Freight, Uber’s logistics subsidiary. As part of the agreement, Waymo is committing to reserve billions of miles of its merchandise-only drone capacity for the Uber Freight network.
Over the past year, Waymo Via has formed other long-term alliances with major logistics companies such as CH Robinson as well as JB Hunt. As Waymo aims to commercialize, this partnership gives the company the opportunity to reach over 130,000 Uber Freight carriers.
The multi-year partnership will be rolled out in stages. The first phase, which Waymo says should happen within a year, involves Waymo Via listing its test set of Peterbilt trucks on the Uber Freight network that have been upgraded with Waymo Driver. In this pilot scenario, Waymo will act as a carrier, offering its autonomous trucks as assets to shippers on the Uber marketplace.
Aurora Innovation, competitor to Waymo Via, in which Uber has a stake after selling Aurora its own unmanned vehicle Uber ATG, Now conducting a similar pilot project with Uber Freight in Texas..
Ultimately, Waymo is pursuing a driver-as-a-service (DaaS) approach in which carriers will buy Daimler trucks operated by Waymo Driver. In the second phase of Waymo’s partnership with Uber, carriers operating trucks equipped with the Waymo Driver will be able to seamlessly connect to the Uber Freight network, which the companies say will help carriers scale their business.
“This is a deep integration between our products, where we will develop a collaborative product roadmap to create tools and infrastructure specific to the successful rollout of autonomous trucks on the Uber Freight network, such as integrations that allow carriers to seamlessly match and complete transportation. cargo with Waymo Driver-enabled trucks on the Uber Freight network,” a Waymo Via spokesperson said in a statement shared with TechCrunch.
The spokesperson also said that Uber Freight and Waymo Via are teaming up a hybrid truck model that still relies on human-driven trucks but uses an off-grid solution to help ease the burden on an industry that is facing a shortage of truck drivers.
“Uber Freight’s extensive, efficient and reliable digital network is essential for autonomous trucks to become a reality,” said Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, in a statement. “We have a unique opportunity to become the network of choice for autonomous trucks, with the scale and market experience to deploy autonomous trucks in a way that benefits the entire industry.”
Waymo hasn’t said how many test vehicles it will use during the initial pilot, but in both the short and long term, Waymo Driver-driven trucks will begin driving on Interstate 95 in Texas between Dallas and Fort Worth before scaling up . Waymo representative. Waymo has not provided a timeline for when it intends to start its DaaS approach or scale beyond its original offline lane in Texas.
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