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Waymo To Test Its Fleet Of Fully-Autonomous Semis In Atlanta

Waymo To Test Its Fleet Of Fully-Autonomous Semis In Atlanta

Literally, in this case - from self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to autonomous Class 8 semi-trucks. In fact, Waymo has been testing its trucks on public roads for only a year. "This pilot, in partnership with Google's logistics team, will let us 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.

Waymo for years has been testing self-driving cars, racing against smartphone-summoned ride star Uber, whose trucking service uses humans to pick up cargo from Uber Freight customers and drive it in trailers to transfer hubs. 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. In January, Google brought its self-driving cars and minivans to Atlanta for testing and mapping.

Both moves are only the latest steps in the advancement of self-driving auto technology. The company noted that its system leverages data collected from 5 million autonomous miles driven with another 5 billion driven in simulation.

The company said in a blog post that the autonomous vehicles will still have drivers in their cabs to monitor them. Even though most of those miles were for passenger vehicles, the firm says almost a decade of experience gives it a head start in trucking.

Uber announced Tuesday that its freight unit was using self-driving semis with human backup drivers to haul consumer goods on freeways in Arizona. It's doing this through the same way you'd each anyone with passenger auto driving experience on how to drive a semi truck. Last week, Uber announced that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple months now.

Waymo's trucks will have plenty of competition.


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