Waymo self-driving trucks to start hauling cargo next week

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

"Over the past year, we've been conducting road tests of Waymo's self-driving trucks in California and Arizona", the company said. Though the goal is for the truck to drive itself, there will be a driver in the cab to monitor systems and take over if there's an emergency.

Waymo and its parent Google are taking their self-driving trucks to Georgia.

"Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars", Waymo said in a blog post.

Mostly known for its self-driving cars, Waymo has integrated its technology into Peterbilt Class 8 trucks, which will carry cargo to Google data centers. 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.

Waymo, which is among the leaders for this technology, expects autonomous vehicles to be able to take over longer distance trucking in the coming years, while allowing human drivers to handle local pickup and delivery routes.

Waymo self-driving tractor trailer
Enlarge Image That bright-blue rig is going to need Waymo space than one of Alphabet's self-driving minivans. Waymo

Earlier this week, Uber revealed that it is testing a hybrid freight delivery system that mixes self-driving and driver-operated trucks created to reduce fatigue for truckers and long absences from home.

Waymo joins Uber and Tesla in the race to develop autonomous trucks and disrupt the traditional trucking industry. So we may see self-driving trucks on the roads before cars without drivers.

Waymo's mission has always been to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.

Waymo hasn't provided much detail about its driverless truck tech, but there's reason to believe it may be more advanced than what its competitors have developed so far. "With Waymo in the driver's seat, we can reimagine many different types of transportation - from ride-hailing to logistics".

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