March 24, 2018

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

10 March 2018, 01:04 | Frank Carlson

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo driverless trucks

Waymo's, the former Google self-driving auto project, announced it is turning its attention to the trucking industry. The company says it's spent the past year testing its trucks in California and Arizona. As one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, Atlanta is "the ideal environment" for this type of test, the company said. During that process, Waymo began collecting data and mapping the metro Atlanta area to safely expand the operations of their self-driving cars.

The company's statement explained that the software behind its self-driving passenger vehicles was adapted to allow its big rigs to operate without a driver.

Waymo, Google parent Alphabet Inc's division focused on autonomous vehicles, is about to expand its testing further in Georgia.

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo said: 'The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer. There will, of course, be highly trained drivers in the cabs in case anything goes awry.

In a blog post, Waymo wrote "We've been able to make rapid progress because our driver - Waymo's self-driving technology - is not only experienced, but adaptable". Google's own logistics team is partnering with Waymo to develop the autonomous trucks through the pilot program.

To be clear, this isn't the first time Waymo has tested their semi trucks in public - the company is well aware of the many differences between driving a semi truck and driving a traditional minivan. That would mean a truck that can drive itself all the way from one loading dock to another-no safety driver, transfer hub, or remote operator needed. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucking revenues were $676.2 billion in 2016, while trucks moved more than 10.4 billion tons of freight.

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