Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Self-driving trucks will deliver to Google data centers in Atlanta

Self-driving trucks will deliver to Google data centers in Atlanta

Waymo is teaming up with sister company Google's logistics team to "develop our technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals".

Waymo has been road testing its self-driving trucks in California and Arizona over the previous year, since announcing them in July 2017.

Waymo has been testing its autonomous tractor-trailers on roads in California and Arizona since a year ago.

The company's statement explained that the software behind its self-driving passenger vehicles was adapted to allow its big rigs to operate without a driver. The drivers will also be able to monitor the computer systems while the trucks drive themselves.

Alphabet's self-driving auto tech division, Waymo, has been making quite a bit of progress with their vehicles lately.

The vehicles will carry cargo around the region for Google's data centers. Testing trucks takes it a step further, the company said.

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Now that Waymo is free of its long-running legal battle with Uber, it is focusing its attention on more important endeavors; namely spreading its self-driving technology to more platforms.

Going the distance: Waymo has already driven five million miles on public roads and another five billion in simulation. The sensor array is the same one found on the Waymo minivan, and, thanks to its overseers, the self-driving technology is set to learn how to drive a fully-loaded truck and trailer, a skill that most humans do not have.

Still, Waymo said it's been able to make rapid progress because its trucking tech shares numerous same components developed for its self-driving minivan, including sensors and software.

Though Waymo has been testing its self-driving semis for a year now, they're not quite ready for the big leagues yet. It has been developing its autonomous vehicle technology for nearly a decade now. Another startup called Embark has been hauling real cargo with autonomous trucks (and a safety driver behind the wheel) since last fall. Not only could such technology address the industry's chronic labor issues, but the potential reduction of transportation costs for countless products could inspire new delivery services and products.

Waymo's mission has always been to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around.

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