Waymo Via, part of Google parent company Alphabet, is partnering with C.H. Robinson, one of the world’s largest logistics platforms and a leader in the transportation industry, to integrate the Waymo Driver into Class 8 trucking, to make autonomous freight movement a reality for their customers.

This long-term, strategic partnership will initially include running multiple pilots for C.H. Robinson’s customers in the Dallas-Houston transportation lane with its Waymo Via test fleet. The partners will then work together to shape the future development and expansion of autonomous driving technology across the industry.

C.H. Robinson has a network of nearly 200,000 shipper and carriers and data on over three million lanes in the US, giving data at scale to help to continue to apply its technology in the most effective and valuable ways for the specific needs of the logistics industry. C.H. Robinson also offers access to its medium and small carrier base and a platform for connecting shippers with AV capacity, so this collaboration lays the foundation to explore how we can make our technology available to more partners as it pursues its Driver-as-a-Service business model.

How will that work? A company statement says: “At Waymo, we develop the Waymo Driver and partner with OEMs, like Daimler Truck, to build redundant trucks that will be designed for and equipped with the Waymo Driver. Then, fleets and carriers will purchase these trucks, and Waymo Via will provide deployment support and ongoing services for our hardware and software components. On top of that, we’ll tap into the broader trucking eco-system to help support and deploy Waymo-equipped vehicles. As a result, we’re able to dedicate ourselves to building the autonomous driving solution and leave other industry players, including C.H. Robinson and its carriers, to do what they do best.

“We’re excited to kick off this work with C.H. Robinson with the first pilot in the coming months, and we can’t wait to see how this joint expertise and knowledge sharing spurs long-term success of autonomous freight transportation for customers and carriers.”

Charlie Jatt, head of commercialisation for Trucking, Waymo Via, says: “We look forward to this collaboration with C.H. Robinson, both for their deep roots and experience in logistics and transportation, but also as a company that shares our vision of how technology and autonomous trucking can change our industry for the better. C.H. Robinson’s size, scale and platform gives us access to rich and unique transportation data along with customer relationships and pilot opportunities to help bring our Waymo Via solution to the market.”

Chris O’Brien, chief commercial officer, C.H. Robinson, says: “We are excited to partner with Waymo Via to explore how autonomous driving technology can help bring increased capacity and sustainability into our logistics strategies. Together, we are going to harness this emerging freight technology and its potential on behalf of customers and carriers. We believe there is a real opportunity to bring our scale and information advantage to bear to help develop transportation solutions for them and their ability to participate in and benefit from AV. C.H. Robinson is also best positioned to represent the role of drivers and small and mid-size carriers in a more autonomous future.”