Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

In Uber's case, the trucks drive autonomously down a highway, and humans take over for the last several miles of a delivery. During the pilot programme, due to start next week, the self-driving Waymo lorries will carry cargo bound for Google's data centres. During the pilot, a trained human driver will sit behind the wheel, ready to take over, if necessary. Waymo wouldn't say how many trucks are being tested, but it released pictures showing two blue semis.

This pilot, in partnership with Google's logistics team, allows for the further development of Waymo's technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of distribution centers, ports and terminals. Just like a regular driver who is moving from passenger cars to semi trucks for the first time, Waymo's AI has been learning the differences in driving a semi truck over the past year. "The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer".

"They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona", the Waymo team said.

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Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), has always been at the forefront of the self-driving auto revolution, and now it's bringing that expertise into the commercial trucking world as well. The company noted that its system leverages data collected from 5 million autonomous miles driven with another 5 billion driven in simulation. "In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking". Other companies have since made similar announcements.

Tesla, of course, recently announced an all-electric semi truck with limited self-driving capabilities. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy".

Waymo is poised to change how we get a ride and now the company is focusing on how we get various goods. A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.

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