Waymo's self-driving 18-wheelers hit the road in Georgia
11 March, 2018, 01:51 | Author: Luis Fowler
"Things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer", Waymo writes. However, the company said in a blog post today that its truck project had a head start thanks to its existing self-driving technology, which Waymo said is "not only experienced, but adaptable".
Waymo driverless trucks will go to work in the Atlanta area Monday as part of a pilot programme meant to help integrate autonomous big rigs with the operations of shippers, ports, terminals, factories, and distribution centres, according to the company.
Waymo, which shares a parent company-Alphabet-with Google, has already been testing its self-driving trucks in California and Arizona for the past year.
Both moves are only the latest steps in the advancement of self-driving vehicle technology.
Today's announcement comes a couple of weeks after Waymo announced its self-driving cars had covered 5 million miles on public roads. 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. 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. 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. Another startup called Embark has been hauling real cargo with autonomous trucks (and a safety driver behind the wheel) since last fall.
Tesla, of course, recently announced an all-electric semi truck with limited self-driving capabilities.
Waymo believes self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and more efficient. So we may see self-driving trucks on the roads before cars without drivers. There, the trailers are hitched onto self-driving trucks for long highway hauls, according to the San Francisco-based company.
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