Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Google's Waymo To Face Off With Tesla In Autonomous Trucks

Google's Waymo To Face Off With Tesla In Autonomous Trucks

Waymo's goal is to eventually integrate this technology into their shipping operations across their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals. The trucks won't be completely driverless, but will be operating on public roads during the pilot, the company said. In January, Google brought its self-driving cars and minivans to Atlanta for testing and mapping. If you're a resident of Atlanta, you can rest a little easier in the knowledge that the trucks will also be ferrying a trained driver in the cab to monitor systems and take over the vehicle if needed.

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

Waymo, formerly part of Google X, started working on self-driving cars back in 2009, but trucks are a relatively new frontier for the company.

"Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars", the company's post said.

Alphabet's autonomous vehicle division, Waymo, has announced that it is deploying a fleet of self-driving trucks to the roads of Atlanta. The software is also the same and it benefits from having driven five million miles on public roads and over five billion miles in simulations. Unlike Uber, Waymo will use its truck for internal business and has no intention of leasing them out to third-party companies. "In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking".

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While Waymo is starting a new pilot program for self-driving truck technology, it's definitely isn't the only company doing so.

Tesla, of course, recently announced an all-electric semi truck with limited self-driving capabilities. Another startup called Embark has been hauling real cargo with autonomous trucks (and a safety driver behind the wheel) since last fall. "The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy".

Waymo believes self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and more efficient.

Waymo's trucks will have plenty of competition.

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