This upcoming holiday season is set to be chaotic due to supply chain bottlenecks and a rising demand for shipping services. UPS andboth know this, so the latter announced Wednesday it'll aid the shipping giant along the way. Waymo's Via trucking service is stepping in with its to help UPS through the end of the year.
The autonomous vehicle company said this is a "natural step" following successful local deliveries with UPS amid an ongoing partnership. This next step will see Waymo deploy its Class 8 semi trucks equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver, the autonomous system's name, for trial shipping runs. As long as the trucks don't prove to be a headache, it'll be much needed help for UPS in the coming months.
While it's good news UPS will get some backup, this won't be a nationwide program. Instead, the self-driving Waymo trucks will haul goods between the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas. From there, UPS will load goods meant for air freight and get them to their final destinations. Through it all, Waymo hopes its prototype autonomous driver learns even more along the way. Additionally, the company wants to keep putting its tech and services in the field as it builds out an autonomous shipping ecosystem for the future. Everything like safety, efficiency, scalability and more is still ripe for lessons in these early days.
With that said, some of your holiday gifts may at some point ride on an autonomous semi truck this season.