Trucking giant J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and autonomous driving technology developer Waymo are collaborating to autonomously move freight in Texas for one of J.B. Hunt’s leading customers.
According to a statement from the two companies, 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. The haul 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.
“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,” said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president at J.B. Hunt. “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.”
The trial run will help J.B. Hunt and Waymo define how they can continue working together long-term, according to the statement from them.