Ryder to build logistics network with autonomous transportation company Embark – TechCrunch

Fleet management and supply chain solutions company Ryder You are partnering with another autonomous transportation company. On Thursday, Ryder announced plans to help Embark launch a nationwide network of up to 100 transfer points that will be owned and operated by the autonomous truck developer.

This is Ryder’s third public partnership with autonomous transportation companies. He recently announced plans that are currently underway to help Waymo via scale your autonomous transportation business assisting with standardized fleet maintenance and management. Ryder is also working with TuSimple for use your own facilities as terminals for commissioning.

“We are at the forefront and we are really beginning to understand that AV could have a very important role in the future of transport logistics, so we want to get in as soon as possible and start working with these companies that seem to be dominating the market with their technologies, ”Karen Jones, Ryder’s executive vice president for new product innovation, told TechCrunch.

While Ryder has been in talks with other AV companies like Kodiak, Aurora and Plus, Jones said there are no other deals in the pipeline. Jones says Ryder hopes to learn and grow through the different use cases that its existing partnerships provide, as well as create a replicable transfer center model that will help the company get to market faster.

“I think as we move into this technology, there are still a lot of unknowns about how to maintain, how to service and how to operate,” Jones said. “Ryder is a perfect fit for the association because we have huge facilities for maintenance, and then we also have our supply chain and our logistics business. We are a real operator who knows how these facilities work and the complexities of getting vehicles in and out for delivery to larger facilities. “

As part of its partnership with Embark, Ryder will provide shipyard operations, maintenance and fleet management. He will also play an advisory role in Embark’s network of strategically located transfer points where cargo is moved from long-distance driverless trucks to driver-controlled trucks for first and last mile delivery.

Ryder is helping Embark understand what is required at the facility and cooperating with external Embark partners who will be building or locating sites for these facilities, Jones says. Initially, the companies will select sites in key cargo markets in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida through which Embark will be able to begin operating early next year in preparation for a larger commercial launch in 2024.

Image credits: Embark

Autonomous companies often choose Sun Belt regions to start their operations because inclement weather patterns like snow and sleet are rare to have to account for, making the environment optimal for testing. But over the next five years, Embark and Ryder plan to work with a network of real estate operators to open 100 Embark transfer points across the country.

Currently, Embark, which recently announced plans to go public through a SPAC deal, moves cargo for companies like HP and Budweiser AB manufacturers inBev, as well as Knight Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises and other “Top 25 US Truck Freight Carriers,” according to CEO Alex Rodrigues.

Rodrigues says Embark’s current cargo partnerships are pilots or smaller-scale versions of what the company plans to launch in the future. The company today has a fleet of 16 trucks operating on the roads with a human safety operator in the front seat just in case, but usually the driver doesn’t have to take over, even if the AV runs into a new one. stage.

Operating on the roads means building a network of off-road transfer centers, which is actually quite essential, although it will take a lot of capital and time to scale. TuSimple, by comparison, is using existing Ryder locations and updating them to serve as TuSimple terminals, rather than building new terminals, like what Embark is doing. Waymo Via is also building its own centers, and Ryder’s fleet maintenance, inspections and roadside assistance will help Waymo’s autonomous transportation arm scale those sites, as well as maximize uptime and reliability of the vehicle. vehicle.

As Ryder lends its varied capabilities to all these different use cases, you can consider your own potential in the AV space, and not just the logistics of it all. Jones said the company is open to operating an autonomous fleet one day if it makes sense to do so on behalf of a customer, and it is also deeply rooted in its first and last mile delivery services.

“There are several spaces for Ryder to play as the entire AV initiative evolves, but our first foray into this is really servicing and starting to understand the technology as well as the requirements for the operational centers,” Jones said.


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