Home furnishings retailer Wayfair will be part of a six-week autonomous delivery pilot this July and August along the I-45 corridor between Houston and Dallas. J.B. Hunt Transport Services will deploy the Waymo Driver solution, and will use J.B. Hunt 360 technology to automate processes such as check calls and transactions.
“Real-time testing with customers like Wayfair is critical to making autonomous freight movement a viable solution in the future,” said Craig Harper, EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer at J.B. Hunt in a statement. “Every supply chain is unique, so it’s important that customers can work alongside J.B. Hunt and Waymo to ensure that advanced autonomous technology will create capacity that meets their needs.”
Throughout the pilot, all three companies will monitor and evaluate data relating to delivery logistics, loading and unloading freight, autonomous performance and factors influencing the overall driving and non-driving experience. Autonomous specialists — a commercially licensed driver and a software technician — will be in the cab for the duration of each trip to monitor operations.
This pilot follows a successful 2021 program with J.B. Hunt and Waymo that moved more than 862,000 pounds of freight with no accidents and 100% on-time pickup and delivery. The current program will be Wayfair’s first large-scale hands-on experience using Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology to transport its products.
“At Wayfair, innovation is at the core of everything we do, and this pilot with J.B. Hunt and Waymo is a great example of this,” said Sean Halligan, Chief Global Supply Chain Officer at Wayfair in a statement. Indeed, the retailer has shown a strong commitment to technological innovation, although much of it has been focused on customer-facing functionality both in its stores and online, including:
- Announcing plans to add three additional engineering sites, with plans to hire 1,000 technologists, in April 2021;
- Debuting immersive video commerce experiences in November 2021;
- Using AR technology from Pinterest in January 2022; and
- Embracing technology at its first AllModern location in May 2022.