UPS, Waymo Partner on Class 8 Autonomous Truck Trials – Equipment
Waymo Via has extended its partnership with UPS to test autonomous freight movement with Class 8 trucks.
On November 17, Waymo announced that over the next few weeks the two companies will jointly conduct self-testing using Waymo Via Class 8 trucks equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo driver. These trials will take place in Texas, where Driver Waymo will deliver for UPS’s North American air cargo unit between the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston facilities.
The trucks will still operate with two autonomous specialists, a CDL driver and a software technician to monitor the Waymo driver during autonomous operations, a Waymo spokesperson told HDT.
“We hope to collect early lessons on how autonomous driving technology can help improve safety and efficiency, assess autonomous system performance and successful cargo delivery, and understand how to fine-tune our autonomous operations in this case. of use for possible scaling, ”the Waymo team said.
“As we enter the holiday season, this year’s delivery demand and the need for freight movement remains unprecedented, and Waymo Via will help meet the critical needs of our partners during this time. “
Waymo called the move a “natural next step” after working with UPS on autonomous parcel delivery. Earlier this year, the two companies announced a pilot pickup of autonomous vehicle packages in the Phoenix area. Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans transported packages from UPS Stores to a local UPS sorting center for processing.
The Waymo Driver is how Waymo refers to its autonomous driving technology. The Waymo driver consists of two parts: hardware and software. On the hardware side, a suite of sensors that includes lidar, cameras, radar, and a powerful AI compute platform provide a 360-degree view of the world. On the software side, the system uses the information gathered by these sensors to determine where the truck is, what’s around it, what’s going to happen next, and what it needs to do to navigate the roads safely.
Waymo noted that he was also working with JB Hunt to haul freight along several highways in Texas and was continuing his work with Daimler on a Level 4 autonomous system for trucks.
Waymo is not the only autonomous truck company that UPS has worked with for its air freight operations in North America. TuSimple has racked up over 160,000 paid autonomous freight transportation miles for the North American Air Freight division of UPS over the past two and a half years and recently added more autonomous lanes for the company.