Google announced earlier in the year that Waymo driverless cars are coming to Atlanta for mapping and testing, and now it has expanded on that by also bringing its freight trucks to deliver items in Atlanta. The trucks will still have a driver inside them for safety measures, but it will primarily be autonomous on public roads.
The trucks use the same custom-built sensors that are in the current self-driving minivans, and also the same software.
This is not a surprise as Waymo is part of Google, and Google has data centers located in Atlanta. The company has also gone on to say that Atlanta is the perfect environment for conducting these types of tests. Before this, Waymo’s autonomous technology was already being tested in California and Arizona using Class-8 tractor trailers.
However, Google is not the only one testing autonomous technology in trucks, as earlier Uber had announced that its self-driving trucks are delivering frieghts in Arizona. Uber’s model has the truck drive itself over long distances and then has the driver take over the last few miles. Waymo’s model is currently unknown.
Apart from this, Waymo plans to launch a driverless ride-hail pilot in Phoenix later in 2018. Waymo is one of Google’s most ambitious project, as autonomous technology can change transportation and vehicles forever. Currently, its main competitor is Uber, which is also making much progress with its testing. Earlier in the year, Waymo and Google were in a court case where Waymo alleged that Uber had stolen the company’s self-driving secrets.