- A Waymo autonomous truck test fleet completed deliveries of Constellation Brands’ beers earlier this year in a Texas-based pilot, the startup announced last week.
- The pilot with C.H. Robinson Worldwide launched in April and stretched into the summer, hauling freight on an approximately 250-mile trip from a Dallas warehouse to a Houston-area distributor.
- Waymo says the pilot is helping shape the future development of the technology as the industry seeks to commercialize freight and passenger services.
In one of our first pilots for @CHRobinson customers, we autonomously moved 1M+ pounds of freight for @cbrands from Dallas to Houston. Pilots like these will shape the future development of the #WaymoDriver and expansion of our #WaymoVia trucking solution. ???????? pic.twitter.com/8Oj5xRVtLc— Waymo (@Waymo) October 3, 2022
Continuing testing in real-world settings, Waymo’s recent project required seamless and on-time pickups and deliveries each day. The project showed how autonomous trucking with safety operators could serve as a link for C.H. Robinson customers.
“We’re really trying to test all the complexity that we have to coordinate behind the scenes,” C.H. Robinson Chief Commercial Officer Chris O’Brien told Transport Dive. “Part of our vision is to be leaders in the autonomous space.”
During the pilot, a carrier picked up the beer from a Dallas warehouse and transported the product to a drop lot, where a Waymo team then hauled the freight to a Houston-area distributor that serves stores and restaurants. O’Brien said they chose a drop lot to simulate a real-world environment that they expect will become standard in the future.
All of the beverages were delivered on time and with no damage, according to the companies. The pilot included the delivery of over 1 million pounds of Modelo and Corona product, C.H. Robinson said.
Beer isn’t the only product that Waymo has delivered through autonomous testing. In June, J.B. Hunt announced a pilot with the startup to run deliveries of Wayfair home furnings in July and August.
C.H. Robinson has seen high customer interest in the autonomous space, and it’s currently in discussions for more pilots, O’Brien said.
“We see this evolving ... like a new mode of transportation: the automated component on long haul or ... medium haul” with “terminals or hubs where a handoff is made to pick up and deliver on the final and first mile,” O’Brien said.