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article imageWaymo and Google launch self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta

By Karen Graham     Mar 9, 2018 in Technology
Atlanta - Waymo, the autonomous vehicle arm of Alphabet announced on Friday it will be launching a self-driving trucks pilot in Atlanta, Georgia next week to carry cargo for Google’s data centers.
Waymo said it would be focusing entirely on self-driving trucks and automated logistics in the pilot program. The program is being done in partnership with Google, one of Alphabet's companies.
The Waymo announcement comes just two days after Uber Technologies said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling cargo on Arizona's highways, according to Reuters. Waymo, since making it public in July 2017, has been testing its self-driving trucks in California and Arizona.
"As our self-driving trucks hit the highways in the region, we will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed," Waymo said in a blog post.
To take on the pilot project in Atlanta, Waymo is using the same sensor suite that Google uses on its autonomous Pacifica minivan platform. Now, Waymo is teaching the software to manage the increased challenge of a truck. It's done in the same way you'd teach anyone with passenger car driving experience how to drive a semi, writes Engadget.
Waymo’s self-driving technology — is not only experienced  but adaptable.
Waymo’s self-driving technology — is not only experienced, but adaptable.
Urban Transportation system is wide open
There's a multi-billion dollar opportunity waiting for autonomous vehicles on America's roads today, and a number of companies are vying for a share of the market, ranging from Tesla and Apple, Inc. to traditional car makers like Ford and General Motors.
Waymo is among the leaders in autonomous technology and the company says they expect self-driving big rigs to take over long-distance trucking in the coming years, leaving short hauls and local deliveries to human drivers.
With Waymo's partnership with Google's logistics team, they will be able to further develop the technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports, and terminals.
“If you are in the Atlanta area, look for a bright blue Waymo truck making a run,” Waymo said.
More about waymo, Google, autonomous trucks, Atlanta, urban transportation
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