As part of J.B. Hunt and Waymo’s collaboration on autonomous trucking technology, the two will deliver goods to J.B. Hunt’s customer Wayfair via an autonomous Class 8 unit.
The pilot will span six-plus weeks during July and August and take place along the Interstate 45 corridor between Houston and Dallas, the location of J.B. Hunt and Waymo’s original pilot nearly one year ago.
It will be the first in-depth transportation of home furnishings retail freight between J.B. Hunt and Waymo Via, the company’s autonomous trucking unit powered by the Waymo Driver technology.
“Real-time testing with customers like Wayfair is critical to making autonomous freight movement a viable solution in the future,” said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president at J.B. Hunt. “Every supply chain is unique, so it’s important that customers can work alongside J.B. Hunt and Waymo to ensure that advanced autonomous technology will create capacity that meets their needs. Through shared experiences, technology integration and innovative thinking, autonomous technology can help us advance J.B. Hunt’s mission to create the most efficient transportation network in North America.”
Throughout the multi-week pilot, J.B. Hunt, Waymo and Wayfair will monitor and evaluate data relating to delivery logistics, loading and unloading freight, autonomous performance, and factors influencing the overall driving and non-driving experience. The pilot will use J.B. Hunt 360 technology to automate several processes such as check calls and transactions to improve driving efficiency.
A commercially licensed driver and a software technician will be in the cab for the duration of each trip to monitor the Waymo Driver’s operations.
Following a successful pilot in 2021, J.B. Hunt and Waymo extended their collaboration earlier this year with a long-term vision to complete the first fully autonomous commercial freight transport. During the pilot, more than 862,000 pounds of freight were moved, with no accidents and 100% on-time pick-up and delivery.
This pilot will be Wayfair’s first large-scale, hands-on experience using Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology to transport freight. Wayfair is an online home furnishing company.
As part of their long-term collaboration, J.B. Hunt and Waymo are exploring technology integration opportunities with J.B. Hunt 360. For example, the J.B. Hunt 360box drop-and-hook freight program that includes more than 12,000 available trailers has the potential to provide a near-term, efficient solution for shippers that would make autonomous driving technology available in the digital freight marketplace for the first time, J.B. Hunt officials said in a press release.