In a blog post on Medium, Waymo noted that in addition to its long-running self-driving auto pilot program now operating in Phoenix, the company was stepping up its testing of semi-tractor trailer cabs loaded with autonomous vehicle sensors. Beginning next week, Waymo's self-driving trucks will begin hauling cargo to Google's data centers.
Waymo began testing its autonomous trucks during trials in California and Arizona and is ready to expands those trials in high-profile way. 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.
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This pilot, in partnership with Google's logistics team, allows for the further development of Waymo's technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of distribution centers, ports and terminals. The trucks themselves will of course have trained safety drivers at the wheel as they roll down Georgia highways to monitor and assume control. Back in October, we reported the company's vehicles could be intelligent enough to handle emergencies without any human input.
'They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona'.
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To be clear, this isn't the first time Waymo has tested their semi trucks in public - the company is well aware of the many differences between driving a semi truck and driving a traditional minivan.
Self-driving trucks could be quite interesting, since trucking is a very vital part of our economy.
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Waymo's self-driving trucks will start rolling out next week.