Waymo is launching their self-driving semi truck pilot test next week

11 March, 2018, 01:53 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • Waymo’s self-driving tech spreads to semi trucks

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. The trucks will not be completely alone because there will be highly trained drivers in the cabs, just in case anything goes wrong. Now Waymo has confirmed that it is about to kickstart a pilot in Atlanta for self-driving trucks that will be used to cart goods destined for Google's datacenters.

The latest test will help Waymo to "further develop our technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals".

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. It said that the software is learning to drive trucks in the same way a human would after years of driving a auto.

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Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), has always been at the forefront of the self-driving auto revolution, and now it's bringing that expertise into the commercial trucking world as well. Interestingly, the company said it now has nearly 10 years of experience in self-driving passenger vehicles, which it will leverage for its autonomous trucks. "And our engineers and AI experts are leveraging the same five million miles we've already self-driven on public roads, plus the five billion miles we've driven in simulation". "In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking". Beyond that, Waymo's trucks will also be outfitted with the same set of custom-built sensors that we've seen on the company's self-driving minivan. Last week, Uber announced that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple months now.

USA states set their own rules for roads, and a handful have passed laws allowing self-driving vehicles. With Waymo in the driver's seat, we can reimagine many different types of transportation - from ride-hailing to logistics. A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.



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