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December 21, 2021

What we learned from our initial trial runs with J.B. Hunt

  • Waymo Via
Waymo Via truck on freeway
Waymo Via truck on freeway

Earlier this year, we kicked off trial runs with J.B. Hunt to carry freight autonomously for one of their leading customers in Texas. This was part of a broader collaboration that combined the leader in autonomous driving technology with one of the largest and most reputable transportation logistics companies in the U.S.

These initial trial runs were the foundation of a multi-phase approach to deploy the Waymo Driver across the trucking industry together. The pilot spanned several weeks starting in June 2021, with runs taking place daily on I-45 between Houston and Fort Worth.

Each of us had individual goals going into the trial runs, but our overall objective through the collaboration was the same: to get an early sense of how autonomous driving technology could fit into everyday fleet and shipper operations, what gaps exist that need to be solved, and how we can create long-term solutions to bring this technology to market together.

Throughout the trial runs, we achieved positive safety and efficiency outcomes and uncovered several useful learnings around the need for early and close collaboration in a real freight environment, what constraints need to be addressed for commercial scale, and all of the operational elements involved beyond the actual autonomous freight delivery. Some highlights included:

  • 862,179 lbs of freight delivered

  • Zero accidents or speeding events

  • 100% on-time pickup and delivery

  • 100% freight intact

We concluded that the Waymo Driver is prepared to successfully deliver freight autonomously with on-time delivery, safe driving behavior, and overall strong performance. But, the value of a pilot goes beyond that: trial runs offer a unique environment to test out multiple different operating models and identify new practices and solutions that will be necessary for autonomous operations at scale that would be otherwise difficult to discover. They are also an important stepping stone in jointly defining and mapping future engagements between partners as we build towards a fully autonomous launch.

Our work with J.B Hunt is geared towards the long-term and ensuring we can create a viable path to market for autonomous driving technology within trucking transportation. We will continue to build on these learnings and appreciate the support from J.B. Hunt, and all of our industry collaborators, as we commercialize our Waymo Via solution.