J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Waymo recently announced the latest development in their collaboration on autonomous trucking technology will include a pilot delivering goods for J.B. Hunt customer Wayfair, one of the world’s largest destinations for the home.
The latest pilot will span six-plus weeks during July and August and take place along the I-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 Class 8 trucking unit powered by the Waymo Driver technology).
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. Autonomous specialists – 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 will be Wayfair’s first large-scale, hands-on experience using Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology to transport freight.
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.