Waymo, starting next week, will launch a pilot in Atlanta where self-driving trucks will carry freight bound for Google’s data centers, the company said in a Medium post,
The company, over the past year, has been conducting road tests of self-driving trucks in California and Arizona. Waymo’s software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars. The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer.
The company is now headed to Georgia. Atlanta is one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, making it a natural home for Google’s logistical operations and the perfect environment for the next phase of testing Waymo’s self-driving trucks.
This pilot, in partnership with Google’s logistics team, will let the company further develop our technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports, and terminals. The company, however, will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.
Waymo’s self-driving trucks use the same suite of custom-built sensors that power the self-driving minivan. They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled cars to go fully driverless in Arizona. The company’s engineers and AI experts are leveraging the same five million miles already self-driven on public roads, plus the five billion miles driven in simulation.