Tech

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo CEO John Krafcik has alluded to autonomous trucks before, and so the assumption was that the company would eventually pursue some kind of autonomous trucking service. During the pilot programme, due to start next week, the self-driving Waymo lorries will carry cargo bound for Google's data centres.

For this pilot program, Waymo is teaching its software, that has become accustomed to driving cars, how to manage the increased challenge of managing a truck. While creating driverless taxis is still one Waymo's main goals, today we're seeing the company branch out to something a little different: Semi trucks.

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Moving onto trucks is possible because of the experience that the engineers and AI experts has gained in Waymo's autonomous passenger vehicles (five million road/five billion simulation miles traveled, apparently).

"As our self-driving trucks hit the highways in the region, we will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed", Waymo said in a blog post. Tesla Inc. has also promised an autonomous truck as the transport industry looks for ways to cut from the equation human drivers who need rest stops and paychecks. 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. It said that the software is learning to drive trucks in the same way a human would after years of driving a auto. A Waymo spokeswoman declined to say how many trucks will be tested.