Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Same driver, different vehicle: Bringing Waymo self-driving technology to trucks

Same driver, different vehicle: Bringing Waymo self-driving technology to trucks

Although it sounds like the trucks will be driving themselves from the beginning of the program, Waymo will have drivers in the cabs of the trucks just in case there's a problem and they need to take over control of the vehicle.

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Waymo's autonomous trucking program is coming along - though we haven't heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing previous year, Waymo today announced that it's launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics. Now, Waymo is teaching the software to manage the increased challenge of a truck. It wasn't clear that the company had already been testing it. Waymo is among the leaders in autonomous technology and the company says they expect self-driving big rigs to take over long-distance trucking in the coming years, leaving short hauls and local deliveries to human drivers.

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This pilot, in partnership with Google's logistics team, will let us further develop our technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals. 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. The company noted that its system leverages data collected from 5 million autonomous miles driven with another 5 billion driven in simulation. If you're in Atlanta, be looking for the bright blue Waymo big rig. The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer.

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