Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Waymo Expanding Heavy-Duty Truck Self-Driving Technology Pilot to Georgia

Waymo Expanding Heavy-Duty Truck Self-Driving Technology Pilot to Georgia

On Friday, Waymo said it was starting to test self-driving trucks on highways and city streets around Atlanta. There will, of course, be highly trained drivers in the cabs in case anything goes awry.

Rival Uber made a similar announcement on Tuesday, saying it is using self-driving semi trucks to augment human-driven rigs in its on-demand trucking service in the U.S. state of Arizona.

"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", a blog post adds.

For this pilot program, Waymo is teaching its software, that has become accustomed to driving cars, how to manage the increased challenge of managing a truck.

Although Waymo is testing self-driving technology on the trucks, there will be a driver behind the wheel.

Waymo's autonomous trucks will have the same sensors and software that are on the minivans it's operating autonomously in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

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Today's announcement comes a couple of weeks after Waymo announced its self-driving cars had covered 5 million miles on public roads.

Commercial trucking is seen as one of the biggest areas of opportunity for self-driving technology. Starsky envisions trucks driving autonomously on the freeway, but having a human driver driving the truck remotely at the beginning and end of the trip.

Self-driving trucks could be quite interesting, since trucking is a very vital part of our 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", explains the company in a blog post.

Waymo's trucks will have plenty of competition.

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