Waymo launching self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta


Like Waymo leveraging its work with self-driving passenger cars, Tesla equipped the Tesla Semi truck with the same Autopilot hardware suite found on all its current vehicles and it plans to introduce increasingly more advanced autonomous features to the vehicles. The trucks will not be completely alone because there will be highly trained drivers in the cabs, just in case anything goes wrong. The massive, Class 8 over-the-road trucks are being used to haul loads to Google's Georgia data centers.

In an announcement post on Medium, Waymo revealed it's chosen Atlanta because it's a huge logistics hub, "making it a natural home for Google's logistical operations and the flawless environment for our next phase of testing Waymo's self-driving trucks". The added equipment is identical to that in Waymo's self-driving minivans.

"Over the past year, we've been conducting road tests of Waymo's self-driving trucks in California and Arizona", the post said.

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"Things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer", Waymo writes. Last week, Uber announced that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple months now. Waymo is approaching this new pilot much in the same way it approached driverless cars, by putting them on the road with a safety driver ready to take over whenever the need may arise. The company announced on Friday that its self-driving trucks have begun hauling real cargo in the Atlanta area.

Waymo believes self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and more efficient.

Waymo's self-driving trucks will start rolling out next week.