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Alphabet-run Waymo is expanding its relationship with US logistics company J.B. Hunt, and entering into a long-term, strategic alliance to commercialise autonomous driving technology for trucking transportation. The two companies carried out initial trial runs in 2021.
These runs were the foundation of a multi-phase approach to deploy the Waymo Driver across the trucking industry.
The pilot spanned several weeks starting in June 2021, with runs taking place daily on I-45 between Houston and Fort Worth.
J.B. Hunt will also be Waymo Via’s first launch customer for freight movement when it deploys fully autonomous operations in Texas in the next few years.
They will also continue to conduct joint operational and market studies to chart the commercial success of our autonomous driving technology.
Charlie Jatt, Head of Commercialization for Trucking, Waymo Via, says: “Our collaboration with J.B. Hunt in 2021 was incredibly fruitful. Establishing this strategic alliance marks an exciting moment for our relationship, and more importantly, paves the way for us both to help grow the foundations for successful deployment and to capitalize on the benefits of autonomous driving technology. We’re incredibly grateful for our relationship with J.B. Hunt and their shared vision for the safety and efficiency benefits we can bring to the industry at a critical time.”
Craig Harper, Chief Sustainability Officer, J.B. Hunt, adds: “Our pilot last year with Waymo Via really helped us get a hands-on understanding of how autonomous driving technology could be implemented within our operations. This strategic alliance will continue that momentum and further explore the intricate details that would make this a value-driven solution for customers. We believe autonomous driving technology will help us create the most efficient transportation network in North America, and our collaboration with Waymo Via is a pivotal step towards fulfilling that mission.”
In June, 2021, Waymo announced its latest investment round of $2.5 billion, with participation from Alphabet, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Magna International, and Mubadala Investment Company.