Minneapolis, Minn.-based global logistics services provider and freight forwarder C.H. Robinson and Mountain View, Calif.-based Waymo Via, the trucking and local delivery unit of autonomous driving technology company Waymo, have teamed up on a long-term strategic partnership focused on mutually exploring the practical application of autonomous driving technology in both logistics and supply chains.
C.H. Robinson and Waymo officials said that this partnership meshes the Waymo Driver, Waymo’s autonomous technology, with Navisphere, C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere, its connected logistics platform, which provides end-to-end visibility, consistent business processes, and strategy-driven business intelligence on a global basis.
In the early stages of this collaboration, the companies said that they will focus on running multiple pilots in the Dallas-Houston transportation lane, using Waymo’s autonomous trucks moving C.H. Robinson’s shipper customers’ freight. And they added that both during and after the pilots, they will work together “to shape the future development and expansion of autonomous driving technology as an additional transportation solution,” noting that it will provide various benefits, including much-needed capacity, help to improve the carrier and driver experience; and address the business challenges posed by long-term driver shortages.
In a media briefing yesterday, Waymo’s Head of Commercialization for Trucking Charlie Jatt described this collaboration as a strategic partnership to explore the practical application of autonomous driving technology in logistics and supply chains. And he noted that the partnership’s multiple pilots in the coming years will prepare for a fully autonomous launch and operation and to also shape how and where autonomous driving technology can advance and bring the most benefit for the logistics industry.
C.H. Robinson Chief Commercial Officer Chris O’Brien said at the briefing that he sees this partnership as a long-term and broad collaboration covering a lot of different areas.
“We really see this as much more than a pilot, and that is where this gets more interesting,” he said. “It does lay the groundwork for us to explore C.H. Robinson’s freight network, the largest in North America with Waymo’s autonomous L4 driving technology. During and after the pilots, our companies are going to collaborate in a lot of different ways, using both of our teams’ experience, tech, and data and ultimately working to shape and accelerate the future expansion of AV technology and the benefits it brings to shippers and carriers.
“We are excited about innovating together, both in the short-term and the long-term, to help both the driver experience, as well as help carriers find efficiency in their business and ultimately to our shipper customers everywhere who face a long-term driver shortage and extremely constrained capacity and bringing a long-term solution to that as well.”
Waymo’s Jatt noted that his firm via will deliver an autonomous driving technology solution that optimizes safety and efficiency, coupled with C.H. Robinson’s large network of 200,000 shippers and carriers (with 85,000 of them motor carriers), 20 million shipments per year, and insights on more than 3 million shipping lanes.
“Together, we can combine C.H. Robinson’s logistics expertise and data with Waymo’s technology and expertise to help tailor this new product to the specific needs of the logistics industry and apply it where it promises the most benefit,” he said. “That is a powerful combination, and we believe it is an important component of delivering economic viability of AV technology in the logistics industry.”