Waymo will deliver goods for home delivery to Wayfair using its fleet of autonomous trailers, the company announced Tuesday.
The deliveries will come as part of a pilot being conducted by Waymo and JB Hunt Transport Services to test self-driving trucks along select Texas shipping lanes. One of JB Hunt’s customers is furniture and homeware giant Wayfair, which will begin shipping deliveries using Waymo’s fleet for a six-week test in July and August.
Deliveries will take place in Texas, with Waymo’s Class 8 autonomous truck carrying goods along Interstate 45 between facilities in Houston and Dallas, the route Waymo and JB Hunt used during the original pilot last year. The trucks drive autonomously, but are accompanied from the cab of the vehicle by two Waymo employees, a driver with a commercial license and a software engineer.
Waymo divides its autonomous efforts into two divisions: Waymo One, its consumer taxi service, and Waymo Via, which focuses on delivering goods in both truck and local delivery formats.
As the ride-sharing service makes slow progress, Waymo has struck a series of deals in recent months to grow its burgeoning trucking business. The Google spin-off has said it has no plans to own or operate its own truck fleet, but will instead partner with truck manufacturers, carriers and brokers to integrate its technology into trucking. In addition to JB Hunt, the company also partners with CH Robinson and Uber Freight, the rideshare company’s on-demand brokerage.
Waymo is currently testing the fifth generation of its “Driver,” the term it uses to describe its combination of hardware, sensors and AI software, on its own test fleet of Class 8 trucks. The company is also working with Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, on a fully autonomous Level 4 system for trucks.