Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Waymo's self-driving tech spreads to semi trucks

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta Waymo moves beyond driverless taxis with trucking program
Kenneth Drake | 10 March, 2018, 01:45

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle arm of Alphabet Inc, said on Friday it would launch a self-driving trucks pilot in Atlanta to carry cargo to Google's data centres.

Waymo's autonomous trucking program is coming along - though we haven't heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing previous year, Waymo today announced that it's launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics.

So, as Waymo said, be sure to keep a beady eye out for the self-driving trucks if you're a resident of Atlanta.

Waymo is going to be looking to leverage their already 9-year experience in self-driving technology to truck driving, but even with all their experience, they are going to face some significant competition in the space. It said that the software is learning to drive trucks in the same way a human would after years of driving a auto. This time, though, the focus is on semi trucks.

Commercial trucking is seen as one of the biggest areas of opportunity for self-driving technology.


The announcement is the latest sign of the accelerated pace at which autonomous trucking is moving from sci-fi to reality. 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. As the company explains, the basic principles are the same but driving a semi is harder as the braking, turning radius and blind spots are completely different than on normal passenger cars.

Waymo's self-driving trucks will start rolling out next week.

Initially, Waymo will have a safety driver behind the wheel just like these other companies. The company has been testing fully driverless cars in Arizona over the past year. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy".

Waymo's mission has always been to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around. With Waymo in the driver's seat, we can reimagine many different types of transportation - from ride-hailing to logistics.

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