Google-owned Waymo on Friday said that its self-driving trucks will haul cargo bound for the internet giant's data centres in Georgia. If you're a resident of Atlanta, you can rest a little easier in the knowledge that the trucks will also be ferrying a trained driver in the cab to monitor systems and take over the vehicle if needed. In fact, Waymo has been testing its trucks on public roads for only a year. Waymo and Google's logistics team are pairing up to tackle this together, and this pilot program is the culmination of one year of testing in California and Arizona. It said that the software is learning to drive trucks in the same way a human would after years of driving a auto. Although the basic principles of driving remain the same, driving a truck that's loaded down with cargo is trickier due to its size and different ways of handling. "And our engineers and AI experts are leveraging the same five million miles we've already self-driven on public roads, plus the five billion miles we've driven in simulation". Interestingly, the company said it now has nearly 10 years of experience in self-driving passenger vehicles, which it will leverage for its autonomous trucks. 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 this week that its own self-driving trucks starting hauling freight across Arizona in a test program.
Waymo joins Uber and Tesla in the race to develop autonomous trucks and disrupt the traditional trucking industry. The program, called Uber Freight, addresses shipping logistics with software, connecting shippers to available truck drivers via an app- much like Uber's ride-hailing app works.More news: Richard Sherman To Meet With 49ers On Saturday
U.S. states set their own rules for roads, and a handful have passed laws allowing self-driving vehicles. A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.
"As we look to the future of innovation and efficiency, self-driving vehicles are at the forefront of enhancing roadway safety and making the transportation of American goods more feasible".