Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle project is expanding in the coming weeks, as Waymo Via is pulling on its partnership with UPS to test freight truck deliveries in large Class 8 trucks.

Announced in a blog post today, Waymo Via will begin testing delivery runs with UPS using Class 8 trucks and the fifth-gen Waymo Driver technology. Class 8 trucks are heavy-duty vehicles designed to tow loads of over 33,000 lbs. Waymo is using modified Peterbilt trucks for this purpose.

The upcoming trial runs will take place in Texas, with Waymo Via trucks making deliveries for the UPS North American Freight unit between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll conduct autonomous trial runs together using our Waymo Via Class 8 trucks equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver. These trial runs will take place in Texas, where the Waymo Driver will deliver for UPS’s North American Air Freight unit between facilities in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. We hope to gather early learnings about how autonomous driving technology can help enhance safety and efficiency, evaluate the performance of the autonomous system and successful delivery of freight, and understand how to refine our autonomous operations in this use case for eventual scaling.

Waymo first partnered with UPS in early 2020 to deliver packages between UPS Stores and the shipping hub in Phoenix, Arizona. This move to Class 8 trucks and freight deliveries is certainly a large step up for the partnership.

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