Waymo self-driving trucks to start hauling cargo next week

Waymo self-driving trucks to start hauling cargo next week

Waymo self-driving trucks to start hauling cargo next week

After focusing on autonomous passenger cars to soon launch a self-driving ride-hailing service, the company is now expanding the effort to trucks.

Human drivers will be on board Waymo trucks to take control if needed.

"Now we're headed to Georgia", the company said.

Waymo said that Atlanta is one of the largest USA logistics hubs, which is why it makes sense to test its autonomous trucks there with Google's cargo.

However, it isn't just minivans that have gotten the Waymo treatment.

The Alphabet Inc. unit says the trucks will have the same technology and sensors as autonomous minivans that are being tested in the Phoenix area. Although the basic principles of driving remain the same, driving a truck that's loaded down with cargo is trickier due to its size and different ways of handling.

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Waymo's autonomous vehicles have now racked up more than five million self-driven miles on public roads, and all of that testing is helping the company move forward with trucking quickly. Another startup called Embark has been hauling real cargo with autonomous trucks (and a safety driver behind the wheel) since last fall.

Commercial trucking is seen as one of the biggest areas of opportunity for self-driving technology.

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.

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

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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