The companies will operate Level 4 autonomous trucks on the I-45 corridor between Fort Worth and Houston, Texas.
Waymo is probably best-known at this point for its autonomous passenger vehicle development and its robotaxi pilot programs in Phoenix, Arizona, but that's definitely not all it gets up to.
It's also heavily into developing autonomous vehicle technology for the heavy trucking industry and has been partnering with several large companies for delivery work all around the Southwestern US with its Waymo Driver system.
Now though, Waymo is taking things further by partnering with trucking company J.B. Hunt to deliver freight on the busy I-45 corridor between Fort Worth and Houston, Texas. Waymo is also working with J.B. Hunt on several operational and market studies to better understand the needs of the heavy trucking industry as it relates to autonomy.
"This will be one of the first opportunities for J.B. Hunt to receive data and feedback on customer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor operating at this level of autonomy," said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer for J.B. Hunt, in a statement. "While we believe there will be a need for highly skilled, professional drivers for many years to come, it is important for J.B. Hunt as an industry leader to be involved early in the development of advanced autonomous technologies and driving systems to ensure that their implementation will improve efficiency while enhancing safety."
The Class 8 Waymo Driver trucks will be operated at Level 4 automation, with Waymo autonomous specialists, a commercially licensed driver and a software technician all on-board to ensure that things stay safe.