Self-driving Waymo vehicles to haul hundreds between Houston and Fort Price

Enlarge / Will Waymo’s autonomous truck honk its horn for little children on the freeway?


On Thursday morning, Waymo introduced that it’s working with trucking firm JB Hunt to autonomously haul cargo hundreds in Texas. Class 8 JB Hunt vehicles outfitted with the autonomous driving software program and {hardware} system known as Waymo Driver will function on I-45 in Texas, taking cargo between Houston and Fort Price.

Nevertheless, the vehicles will nonetheless carry people—a skilled truck driver and Waymo technicians—to oversee and take over if needed.

Though Waymo is best recognized for the autonomous taxi service it operates in a suburb of Phoenix, the corporate began experimenting with including its autonomous expertise to freight haulers a number of years in the past. And in 2018, it started testing these vehicles within the Atlanta space. What makes right this moment’s information extra notable is the partnership with a serious truck operator.

“This shall be one of many first alternatives for JB Hunt to obtain knowledge and suggestions on buyer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor working at this stage of autonomy. Whereas we imagine there shall be a necessity for extremely expert, skilled drivers for a few years to return, it is necessary for JB Hunt as an business chief to be concerned early within the improvement of superior autonomous applied sciences and driving techniques to make sure that their implementation will enhance effectivity whereas enhancing security,” mentioned Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer at JB Hunt.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with JB Hunt as we advance and commercialize the Waymo Driver,” mentioned Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking at Waymo. “Our groups share an progressive and safety-first mindset in addition to a deep appreciation for the potential advantages of autonomous driving expertise in trucking. It is corporations and relationships like these that can make this expertise a business actuality within the coming years.”

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