Wayfair joins Waymo and JB Hunt Texas pilot

  • July 6, 2022
  • William Payne

Waymo and JB Hunt are running an autonomous trucking pilot for Wayfair, one of the world’s largest providers of home furniture. The pilot is being added to the ongoing collaboration between transportation company JB Hunt and autonomous driving developer Waymo.

The latest pilot will span six-plus weeks during July and August and take place along the I-45 corridor between Houston and Dallas, the location of JB Hunt and Waymo’s original pilot nearly one year ago. It will be the first transportation of home furnishings retail freight between JB Hunt and Waymo Via, the company’s autonomous Class 8 trucking unit powered by the Waymo Driver technology.

Throughout the multi-week pilot, JB Hunt, Waymo and Wayfair will constantly monitor data. This will include data on delivery logistics, loading and unloading, autonomous performance, and factors influencing the overall driving and non-driving experience. The pilot will use JB Hunt 360° technology to automate several processes such as check calls and transactions to improve driving efficiency. A commercially licensed driver and a software technician will be in the cab for the duration of each trip to monitor the Waymo Driver’s operations.

“Real-time testing with customers like Wayfair is critical to making autonomous freight movement a viable solution in the future,” said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer and executive vice president at JB Hunt. “Every supply chain is unique, so it’s important that customers can work alongside JB Hunt and Waymo to ensure that advanced autonomous technology will create capacity that meets their needs. Through shared experiences, technology integration and innovative thinking, autonomous technology can help us advance JB Hunt’s mission to create the most efficient transportation network in North America.”

“Expanding our alliance with JB Hunt and beginning to move freight together for Wayfair is an exciting next step toward applying the Waymo Driver technology to commercial goods delivery,” said John Verdon, trucking lead, business development and partnerships at Waymo. “We couldn’t be more delighted to work alongside companies who share our innovative spirit and excitement for what autonomous driving technology can mean for the trucking industry.”

This will be Wayfair’s first large-scale, hands-on experience using Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology to transport freight. Wayfair stocks over 33 million products from more than 23,000 suppliers and operates through an omnichannel shopping environment.

“At Wayfair, innovation is at the core of everything we do, and this pilot with JB Hunt and Waymo is a great example of this,” said Sean Halligan, Wayfair’s chief global supply chain officer. “We’re excited to continue our work with JB Hunt and their willingness to collaborate with us on this autonomous commercial vehicle test as a part of our overall strategy to evolve our logistics strategies and end-to-end supply chain solutions.”

As part of their long-term collaboration, JB Hunt and Waymo are exploring technology integration opportunities with JB Hunt 360. For example, the JB Hunt 360box drop-and-hook freight programme that includes more than 12,000 available trailers has the potential to provide a near-term, efficient solution for shippers that would make autonomous driving technology available in the digital freight marketplace for the first time.