Ryder will manage Waymo autonomous truck fleets

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A Waymo employee hails a ride on their phone during a demonstration in Chandler, Arizona, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara

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DETROIT, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Truck fleet operator Ryder System Inc (R.N) will manage and maintain autonomous trucks for Waymo Via, the autonomous truck unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), the companies said on Wednesday.

Waymo Via is testing a small fleet of trucks with its automated driving system in Texas, Arizona, California, Ohio and Michigan. Under the new partnership, Ryder will handle maintenance and roadside service, among other services, the companies said.

"Over time, we see tremendous opportunity to expand our collaboration to accelerate the broad deployment of autonomous trucks," Rocky Garff, head of Waymo Via's trucking operations, wrote in a blog post.

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Waymo Via also is building a hub for autonomous trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that will be "able to accommodate hundreds of trucks and personnel," Garff wrote.

Waymo did not say when its autonomous truck fleet would grow to hundreds of vehicles.

Waymo Via said last October it is collaborating with Daimler Trucks to develop autonomous Class 8 semis.

Waymo previously partnered with auto dealership chain AutoNation Inc (AN.N) to provide fleet management services for Waymo's robo-taxi operations.

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Reporting by Joe White in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis

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