J.B. Hunt releases metrics on self-driving truck pilot

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,628 views 

Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. recently reported metrics of a pilot program to move freight autonomously on Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston.

In a recently posted video on social media, Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president, discussed J.B. Hunt’s collaboration with Waymo Via on the pilot to move freight commercially using self-driving technology.

“I’m happy to report that all the safety and operating metrics were fantastic,” Harper said. “The freight was moved safely. There were no accidents, no speeding violations. Every pickup and delivery was on time.”

He said J.B. Hunt hauled more than 860,000 pounds of freight in the pilot.

“I think it was very rewarding for both of our companies to see that the pilot was a success, that the customer was happy and that every piece of freight was delivered intact,” Harper said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the pilot.”

Following the pilot last year, J.B. Hunt and Waymo Via announced a long-term strategic alliance in January. The goal is to complete a fully autonomous transport in Texas in the next few years.

Waymo Via is the autonomous freight transportation segment of Mountain View, Calif.-based Waymo. Waymo is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

On Wednesday (June 28), J.B. Hunt announced it was adding the home goods company Wayfair to its autonomous trucking program. As part of a six-plus week pilot project, Wayfair will use autonomous trucks to deliver shipments during July and August. It will be conducted along the Interstate 45 corridor between Houston and Dallas. An evaluation of the delivery logistics, freight loading and autonomous performance will be conducted.

In February 2021, J.B. Hunt and the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based technology company announced an alliance to accelerate J.B. Hunt’s digital transformation and develop next-generation supply chain platform technology. The multi-year partnership with Google is expected to expand J.B. Hunt’s technology platform J.B. Hunt 360, which digitally connects shipments with available capacity, increases efficiency and enhances visibility.

In the first quarter, total freight transactions attributed to the technology platform Marketplace for J.B. Hunt 360 rose by 36% to $600 million, from $430 million in the same period in 2021.