Waymo to Launch Driverless Truck Pilot in Metro Atlanta

11 March, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • The Waymo logo is displayed during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan US

Although it sounds like the trucks will be driving themselves from the beginning of the program, Waymo will have drivers in the cabs of the trucks just in case there's a problem and they need to take over control of the vehicle.

Waymo will start testing a fleet of autonomous freight trucks in Georgia's capital this week that will take deliveries to Google's data centres.

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Waymo's goal is to eventually integrate this technology into their shipping operations across their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals.

Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under parent company Alphabet, is scaling up.

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"Things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer", Waymo writes.

In a blog post, Waymo wrote "We've been able to make rapid progress because our driver - Waymo's self-driving technology - is not only experienced, but adaptable". During that process, Waymo began collecting data and mapping the metro Atlanta area to safely expand the operations of their self-driving cars. The software is also the same and it benefits from having driven five million miles on public roads and over five billion miles in simulations. "In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking". Last week, Uber announced that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple months now. The other three companies we've mentioned-Uber, Starsky, and Embark-have all focused on freeway driving, which is generally considered the easiest type of driving to automate. The program, called Uber Freight, addresses shipping logistics with software, connecting shippers to available truck drivers via an app- much like Uber's ride-hailing app works.

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"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". A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.

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