Ryder System and autonomous vehicle company Aurora Innovation are collaboration to pilot on-site fleet maintenance for autonomous trucks. With Ryder technicians embedded at Aurora’s terminal in South Dallas, the goal is to support the current pilot operations and prepare for commercial operation at scale.
Autonomous technology has the potential for trucks to be operated for a much greater part of the day than those driven by humans. However, higher utilization means autonomous trucks will require more frequent preventive maintenance, according to Ryder, as well as immediate access to corrective maintenance. These service needs make on-site maintenance at Aurora’s terminals essential as the company moves toward the commercialization of autonomous trucks.
“Collaborating on this customized solution with Aurora advances our shared goal of facilitating the commercialization of autonomous technology," said Karen Jones, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, and head of new product development at Ryder, in a statement. "It’s a critical next step toward our vision to build the key service elements that will support the safe deployment of autonomous trucks across the U.S."
As part of the pilot, Ryder will embed skilled technicians to work alongside Aurora technicians at Aurora’s South Dallas terminal to:
- Maintain Aurora’s fleet of autonomous Class 8 tractors, including inspections, preventive maintenance, and repairs.
- Inspect and maintain trailers for pilot hauls and compliance with DOT standards.
- Collaborate with Aurora to minimize downtime and improve maintenance operations.
“Teaming up with Ryder’s sophisticated maintenance team will help to unlock the potential of autonomous trucks for around-the-clock operation," added Kendra Phillips, vice president of service delivery at Aurora. "This collaboration will add value to our pilot customers and ultimately strengthen our commercial product, Aurora Horizon.”
Ryder’s fleet maintenance experience will be instrumental as Aurora prepares to deliver Aurora Horizon. Aurora expects on-site maintenance in its terminals to be particularly significant as it increases pilot customer hauls to 100 per week, which it anticipates reaching at the end of 2023.
“As we co-develop our playbook for on-site maintenance at our terminals, we look forward to collaborating with Ryder on other services like roadside assistance and terminal operations to develop autonomous service delivery at scale,” added Phillips.