Waymo, Freight Giant J.B. Hunt Forming Robot Truck Alliance

J.B. Hunt is one of the biggest freight carriers in the U.S.

It is called Waymo.

J.B. Hunt will be the first commercial customer for the robotic truck services of Waymo.

Last year, J.B. Hunt began a pilot program with a tech company called Waymo Via, which was involved in test runs on the I-45 freeway in Texas. When fully self-driving operations are deployed in Texas, it will be the first freight partner for Waymo Via. Ahead of that, the companies will expand their test runs using automated big rigs.
The strategic alliance will allow us both to help grow the foundations for successful deployment and to take advantage of the benefits of self driving technology, said Charlie Jatt, the head of commercialization for trucking.

The on-demandrobotaxi service in suburban Phoenix is generating a small amount of revenue for the unit, which plans to expand that offering in the San Francisco Bay region. The technology it has been developing for more than a decade is quickly becoming a core application of the technology. Competition is intensifying between Waymo and other companies because of rising demand for freight services, a shortage of long-haul truck drivers, and a simpler operating environment.

J.B. Hunt said the program with Waymo will help it learn how to integrate trucks with self-driving technology. The partnership didn't have financial details.

J.B. Hunt got a hands-on understanding of how self-driving technology could be implemented in their operations through the pilot with Waymo Via. We believe that the most efficient transportation network in North America will be created by the use of self driving technology.

Humans are behind the wheel of about 50 trucks that are loaded with sensors and a high-powered computing system. TuSimple did a test run of one of its trucks without a human driver in the cab.