Electronics and Semiconductors

Waymo begins self-driving freight trials in Texas

16 June 2021
Waymo Via will help with the freight trials in cooperation with J.B. Hunt. Source: Waymo

Waymo, the autonomous driving wing of Google, has started self-driving testing of freight in Texas with J.B. Hunt Transport Services, a supply chain transportation company based in North America.

The test run will use Waymo Via, its autonomous Class 8 trucking unit, to haul freight between facilities in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas.

The transport will use Level 4 autonomous driving technology along Interstate 45 in the state with a Waymo specialist supervising as well as a licensed driver and software technician on board to monitor all aspects of the freight run.

“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 goal is to explore how automated driving can be integrated across fleets while enhancing safety and efficiency. Additionally, the companies will explore future facility layouts to determine which lanes are best suited for self-driving technology.

Waymo has spent a lot of time exploring self-driving cars and the company has driven over more than 20 million miles on public roads across 10 U.S. states and 20 billion simulated miles.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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