Eden Prairie-based C.H. Robinson is teaming up with a company that began as the Google self-driving car project in 2009 to explore the use of autonomous trucks.
The partnership is between C.H. Robinson, one of the world’s largest logistics platforms and a leader in the transportation industry, and Waymo Via, the trucking and local delivery unit of Waymo, the California-based autonomous driving technology company.
According to a Feb. 16 announcement, the two will initially focus on pilot projects. That entails Waymo Via’s test fleet of autonomous trucks (with a safety driver) hauling and delivering C.H. Robinson’s customer freight between Dallas and Houston.
Both companies describe their collaboration into the self-driving truck market as long-term. The ultimate goal is to shape the future development and expansion of autonomous driving technology across the industry as an additional transportation solution.
C.H. Robinson stated it would help address the business challenges posed by long-term driver shortages.
Chris O’Brien, chief commercial officer for C.H. Robinson, said the company is excited to see how the emerging technology can help increase capacity and sustainability in its logistics strategies.
“Together, we are going to harness this emerging freight technology and its potential on behalf of customers and carriers,” O’Brien said. “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 (autonomous vehicles). C.H. Robinson is also best positioned to represent the role of drivers and small and mid-size carriers in a more autonomous future.”
Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking at Waymo, said C.H. Robinson’s size, scale and platform gives them access to “rich and unique transportation data along with customer relationships and pilot opportunities to help bring our Waymo Via solution to the market.”