Waymo, an autonomous driving technology developer owned by Alphabet, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT), one of the largest supply chain solutions providers in North America, have announced a collaboration to autonomously move freight in Texas. The collaboration will explore how autonomous driving technology can be integrated across fleets and enhance safety and efficiency.
The test run will use Waymo Via, the company’s autonomous Class 8 trucking unit powered by the Waymo Driver, to haul freight between facilities in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas.
The transport along Interstate 45 will be completed using Level 4 autonomous driving technology supervised by Waymo autonomous specialists, a commercially licensed driver and a software technician, on board to monitor every aspect of the Waymo Driver’s operations throughout the runs.
Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking at Waymo, says: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with J.B. Hunt as we advance and commercialize the Waymo Driver. Our teams share an innovative and safety-first mindset as well as a deep appreciation for the potential benefits of autonomous driving technology in trucking. It’s companies and relationships like these that will make this technology a commercial reality in the coming years.”
Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president at J.B. Hunt, adds: “This will be one of the first opportunities for J.B. Hunt to receive data and feedback on customer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor operating at this level of autonomy. While we believe there will be a need for highly skilled, professional drivers for many years to come, it is important for J.B. Hunt as an industry leader to be involved early in the development of advanced autonomous technologies and driving systems to ensure that their implementation will improve efficiency while enhancing safety.”
To date, Waymo has autonomously driven tens of millions of miles on public roads and tens of billions of miles in simulation, across 10 U.S. states.