Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Same driver, different vehicle: Bringing Waymo self-driving technology to trucks

Same driver, different vehicle: Bringing Waymo self-driving technology to trucks

Literally, in this case - from self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to autonomous Class 8 semi-trucks.

Now we're headed to Georgia.

Waymo, one of the main players in self-driving cars, announced today in a blog post that it is expanding its autonomous vehicle technology into big rig trucks. During that process, Waymo began collecting data and mapping the metro Atlanta area to safely expand the operations of their self-driving cars. 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, which is among the leaders for this technology, expects autonomous vehicles to be able to take over longer distance trucking in the coming years, while allowing human drivers to handle local pickup and delivery routes. Last week, Uber announced that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple months now. The program, called Uber Freight, addresses shipping logistics with software, connecting shippers to available truck drivers via an app- much like Uber's ride-hailing app works. Starsky envisions trucks driving autonomously on the freeway, but having a human driver driving the truck remotely at the beginning and end of the trip. Beyond that, Waymo's trucks will also be outfitted with the same set of custom-built sensors that we've seen on the company's self-driving minivan.

"Trucking is a vital part of the American economy, and we believe self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and even stronger".

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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