Waymo and Google launch a self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta

Waymo's, the former Google self-driving vehicle project, announced it is turning its attention to the trucking industry.

To accomplish this, Waymo will be teaming up with Google's logistics team to accelerate the development of their self-driving semi truck technology and "integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers".

Waymo says it uses the same technology for its trucks, so it's a good guess that the company is aiming to achieve the same level of autonomy for its trucking fleet.

The race is heating up to remove the driver and get autonomous freight trucks on the road.

"Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars", Waymo said in a blog post. While numerous basic principles of a self-driving semi-truck are similar with passenger vehicles like the Lexus RX 450h and Chrysler Pacifica vehicles that Waymo typically uses, considerations have to be made for "braking, turning, and blind spots" with the fully-loaded weight of such a vehicle, and its vast size.

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Despite the larger vehicle platform, Waymo engineers are said to have made rapid progress thanks to five million test miles using smaller cars on public roads and five billion miles in simulation.

"Things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer", Waymo writes.

Waymo already announced in January that it was expanding testing of its self-driving taxi service to the Atlanta area. A highly-trained safety operator will be in the cab to monitor systems and take control if needed. They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona.

The latest installment, coming on the heels of a settled lawsuit between the two tech giants, involves self-driving truck testing.

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