Google to use Waymo self-driving trucks in Atlanta

EnlargeWaymo

Of course, self-driving trucks aren't yet ready for full autonomy - there will be a driver present in the cab at all times, much as with cars. Waymo is starting out small with this pilot test, using these semi trucks to carry cargo destined for Google's data centers.

"Atlanta is one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, making it a natural home for Google's logistical operations and the ideal environment for our next phase of testing Waymo's self-driving trucks", Waymo said in the post. Waymo began testing the technology on the trucks in 2017 at California and Arizona research facilities. However, the company said in a blog post today that its truck project had a head start thanks to its existing self-driving technology, which Waymo said is "not only experienced, but adaptable". "The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer".

Waymo already announced in January that it was expanding testing of its self-driving taxi service to the Atlanta area. Unlike Uber, Waymo will use its truck for internal business and has no intention of leasing them out to third-party companies. Even though most of those miles were for passenger vehicles, the firm says almost a decade of experience gives it a head start in trucking.

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Waymo joins Uber and Tesla in the race to develop autonomous trucks and disrupt the traditional trucking industry. It's doing this through the same way you'd each anyone with passenger vehicle driving experience on how to drive a semi truck. So we may see self-driving trucks on the roads before cars without drivers.

"As we look to the future of innovation and efficiency, self-driving vehicles are at the forefront of enhancing roadway safety and making the transportation of American goods more feasible".

Thus far, Waymo seems to have focused mostly on applying its self-driving technology to the ride-hailing market. There, the trailers are hitched onto self-driving trucks for long highway hauls, according to the San Francisco-based company.

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