Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo, a sibling company of Google, said on Friday that it will start a self-driving truck pilot program in Atlanta to service Google's data centers.

Uber uses a "transfer hub" model, where a human driver takes a trailer through busy city streets at the beginning and end of a trip, while a self-driving truck drives a long-haul, freeway-only route in between. 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, the company wrote in a blog post. In the pilot, Waymo will integrate its technology into the operations of shippers and carriers with their network of factories, distribution centres, ports and terminals.

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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.

Uber has been testing self-driving truck technology since 2016, and began using autonomous rigs for hauls late previous year. Our self-driving trucks use the same suite of custom-built sensors that power our self-driving minivan.

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"They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona", the Waymo team said. The company noted that its system leverages data collected from 5 million autonomous miles driven with another 5 billion driven in simulation. Another startup called Embark has been hauling real cargo with autonomous trucks (and a safety driver behind the wheel) since last fall. The company added that it believes that "self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and even stronger". It's doing this through the same way you'd each anyone with passenger vehicle driving experience on how to drive a semi truck.

The race is heating up to remove the driver and get autonomous freight trucks on the road. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy". The company is reimagining many different types of transportation - from ride-hailing to logistics.

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Waymo's trucks will have plenty of competition.

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