Last June, Alphabet’s autonomous unit worked with JB Hunt, a transportation and logistics company, to test its Waymo Via technology in Texas. On Friday, the two announced that they are forming a strategic partnership with hopes of deploying a fully autonomous trucking operation within the state sometime in the next few years. In the immediate future, Waymo and JB Hunt say they plan to run multiple pilots involving Waymo Via. This is the Waymo Driver-powered unit that subsidiary Alphabet has developed for Class 8 trucks. They also plan to complete additional market studies.
The expanded partnership follows a in which Waymo and JB Hunt said they moved 862,179 pounds of cargo without their test trucks speeding up or ending up in accidents. The conclusion they drew at the time was that Waymo Driver was ready to deliver the cargo on time and safely. Waymo is just one of the few companies working on self-driving truck technology. Just months before the company completed its June pilot with JB Hunt, Aurora, the startup that acquired Uber, announced it was working with Volvo to build fully autonomous semi-trucks that would transport cargo across North America.
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