Waymo Extends Self-Driving Trials To Cargo-Carrying Semi Trucks In Atlanta

Waymo is testing self-driving trucks in Atlanta
Waymo moves beyond driverless taxis with trucking program

10 March, 2018

Over the past year, we've been conducting road tests of Waymo's self-driving trucks in California and Arizona.

"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 an online post. Now, Waymo is teaching the software to manage the increased challenge of a truck.

Meanwhile, a startup called Starsky Robotics announced an initial test this week of its technology for remotely driven trucks. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy". The other three companies we've mentioned-Uber, Starsky, and Embark-have all focused on freeway driving, which is generally considered the easiest type of driving to automate. To take on the pilot project in Atlanta, Waymo is using the same sensor suite that Google uses on its autonomous Pacifica minivan platform.

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"Embark is also focusing on handling freeway driving, with a human driver on board who navigates city streets, "TechCrunch wrote last summer". The trucking endeavor taps into much of the same technology used in Waymo's cars and minivans, but tuned to the complexities of operating a big rig on a roadway. As the company explains, the basic principles are the same but driving a semi is harder as the braking, turning radius and blind spots are completely different than on normal passenger cars.

Urban Transportation system is wide open There's a multi-billion dollar opportunity waiting for autonomous vehicles on America's roads today, and a number of companies are vying for a share of the market, ranging from Tesla and Apple, Inc.to traditional auto makers like Ford and General Motors.

Uber claims to have made the first commercial shipment ever by a self-driving truck when it hauled a trailer full of Budweiser beer over about 120 miles (193 kilometers) of highway in Colorado.

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