"Beginning sometime next week, Waymo will be launching a pilot test in Atlanta, Georgia where their fleet of self-driving trucks will be "[carrying] cargo bound for Google's data centers". On Friday, Waymo said it was starting to test self-driving trucks on highways and city streets around Atlanta.
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's goal is to eventually integrate this technology into their shipping operations across their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals. The software is also the same and it benefits from having driven five million miles on public roads and over five billion miles in simulations. As our self-driving trucks hit the highways in the region, we'll have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.
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".
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Waymo is going to be looking to leverage their already 9-year experience in self-driving technology to truck driving, but even with all their experience, they are going to face some significant competition in the space. On Tuesday, rival Uber said its self-driving trucks would begin transporting freight across Arizona.
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.
Trucking is a vital part of the American economy. The company is reimagining many different types of transportation - from ride-hailing to logistics.