Embark, Ryder’s Partner in Nationwide Autonomous Fleet Network – Equipment
Ryder System and autonomous technology company Embark Trucks have formed a partnership to launch a nationwide network of up to 100 “transfer points” where freight would be moved from autonomous long-haul trucks to trucks with drivers for delivery of the first and of the last mile.
As part of the partnership, Embark plans to establish a network of strategically located transfer points, while Ryder plans to serve as a transfer point operator, manage logistics operations throughout the jobsite, perform inspections before and after the trip and to provide maintenance services for the vehicles, as well as the autonomous equipment.
Initially, the partnership will focus on developing selected sites in key freight markets in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. Embarque plans to start transporting loads to these sites in early 2022 with a view to a larger commercial launch in 2024.
Over the next five years, working with a network of real estate operators, the two companies aim to open up to 100 Embark transfer points nationwide, Ryder officials said in a press release.
“A fully developed transfer point must include autonomous truck maintenance services and efficient yard operations,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Emark. “By working with Ryder to provide best-in-class trucking services across our transfer point network, we are laying the foundation for seamless operations coast-to-coast with Emark-equipped trucks. “
Earlier this year, Ryder entered into similar partnerships with TuSimple and Waymo to serve as a maintenance provider for their stand-alone freight networks.
Embark unveiled its first transfer points in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Since then, Embark has completed hundreds of transports to these sites, refining the required transfer point capacities and evaluating a range of service providers to meet those capacities, an Emark official said.
“The road to commercial adoption of self-driving trucks involves much more than integrating technology that allows vehicles to drive safely on their own,” said Karen Jones, CMO and head of new product innovation at Ryder. “Someone needs to inspect vehicles to identify potential problems, provide maintenance support, maintain stand-alone equipment, and coordinate load transfers, among other things. Through this partnership with Embark, we are able to leverage Ryder’s nearly 90 years of operational expertise to support Emark’s growth plan.