Multi-year agreement will feature multiple pilots and explore digital marketplace integration
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. announced a long-term, strategic alliance with Waymo Via that will advance innovative efforts to integrate commercial autonomous driving technology in transportation and logistics, with ultimate plans to complete fully autonomous transport in Texas in the next few years.
“Our pilot last year with Waymo Via really helped us get a hands-on understanding of how autonomous driving technology could be implemented within our operations,” said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president at J.B. Hunt. “This strategic alliance will continue that momentum and further explore the intricate details that would make this a value-driven solution for customers. We believe autonomous driving technology will help us create the most efficient transportation network in North America, and our collaboration with Waymo Via is a pivotal step towards fulfilling that mission.”
The expanded collaboration will include multiple pilots to further analyze the operational capacity of Waymo Via, the company’s autonomous Class 8 trucking unit powered by the Waymo Driver, to address customer needs in realistic scenarios. Waymo and J.B. Hunt completed their first trial runs last year moving freight along I-45 in Texas for one of J.B. Hunt’s leading customers. The upcoming pilots will take place in the same lane.
“Our collaboration with J.B. Hunt in 2021 was incredibly fruitful,” said Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking at Waymo. “Establishing this strategic alliance marks an exciting moment for our relationship, and more importantly, paves the way for us both to help grow the foundations for successful deployment and to capitalize on the benefits of autonomous driving technology. We’re incredibly grateful for our relationship with J.B. Hunt and their shared vision for the safety and efficiency benefits we can bring to the industry at a critical time.”
Beyond the highway, the two will explore solutions that merge two of the most innovative forces in the transportation industry - autonomous driving technology and the digital marketplace. J.B. Hunt’s technology platform - J.B. Hunt 360°® - is an industry leader in digital freight matching and was responsible for processing 1.2 million loads in 2020. Waymo has over a decade of experience in building autonomous driving technology, having driven over 20 million miles on public roads across 13+ U.S. states and 20 billion miles in simulation. The combined solution, which would make Waymo Via accessible through J.B. Hunt 360, would be a unique offering with potential to greatly improve transportation efficiency.
Additionally, the collaboration will include operational and market studies to refine the commercial readiness of the driving technology.