Waymo to Pilot Autonomous Big Rigs in Atlanta

Fredrick Soto
March 11, 2018

The company said that trained drivers will ride inside the truck cabs to monitor their progress and take over if needed.

"Atlanta is one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, making it a natural home for Google's logistical operations and the flawless environment for our next phase of testing Waymo's self-driving trucks", Waymo said in the post. Google's own logistics team is partnering with Waymo to develop the autonomous trucks through the pilot program.

Waymo, formerly part of Google X, started working on self-driving cars back in 2009, but trucks are a relatively new frontier for the company. 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". 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.

Google's Waymo has been testing autonomous vehicles for quite some time, so it's taking the next logical step by shifting the technology over to trucks. Our self-driving trucks use the same suite of custom-built sensors that power our self-driving minivan.

Going the distance: Waymo has already driven five million miles on public roads and another five billion in simulation. These lessons could eventually be applied to other companies who use trucks with Waymo's technology. It's doing this through the same way you'd each anyone with passenger auto driving experience on how to drive a semi truck.

U.S. states set their own rules for roads, and a handful have passed laws allowing self-driving vehicles. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy".

Autonomous-vehicle technology has been touted as having potential to save fuel, ease congestion, and make transportation safer. A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.

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