Waymo and JB Hunt have announced their intention to test autonomous trucks across Texas. Waymo Via is Waymo’s business unit dedicated to moving goods whose activity dates back to 2018, when the company completed the first commercial pilot with Google’s Data Centers. JB Hunt is one of the largest, most reputable, and most innovative transportation logistics companies in the US.
The target of the test campaign is to autonomously transport loads in Texas for one of JB Hunt’s leading customers. The trucks will be fully autonomous on the motorway, even though a human driver and a software specialist will always be on board.
JB Hunt is «an ideal collaborator» for Waymo
«We’ll be using our Class 8 trucks operated by the Waymo Driver on one of the most highly utilized freight corridors in the country, I-45, hauling goods between facilities in Houston and Fort Worth», stated Waymo. «As a leading for-hire truckload carrier with operations across the US, JB Hunt is an ideal collaborator to explore how the Waymo Driver can be integrated across fleets and enhance safety and efficiency. Carrying freight is just one aspect of our collaboration; we’ve also worked closely with JB Hunt for some time now on operational and market studies and will continue to do so as we roll out autonomous driving technology. We’ve explored topics such as best practices for regular maintenance, what future facility layouts will look like, and which lanes are best suited for autonomous driving technology, to help ensure long-term preparedness on both sides».
«Improve efficiency while enhancing safety»
According to Craig Harper, Chief Sustainability Officer, J.B. Hunt, «This will be one of the first opportunities for JB 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 JB 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».