Waymo's self-driving tech spreads to semi trucks

WAYMO GOOGLE CARGO SELF DRIVING CARS AFP RELAX

WAYMO GOOGLE CARGO SELF DRIVING CARS AFP RELAX

Although it sounds like the trucks will be driving themselves from the beginning of the program, Waymo will have drivers in the cabs of the trucks just in case there's a problem and they need to take over control of the vehicle.

Waymo's bright blue autonomous trucks will hit the highways of Atlanta starting next week, shuttling cargo bound for Google's data centers.

The autonomous 18-wheelers have a driver on board for safety purposes, but are operating on public roads in self-driving mode, using an array of cameras, custom-made sensors and software, Waymo said.

Mostly known for its self-driving cars, Waymo has integrated its technology into Peterbilt Class 8 trucks, which will carry cargo to Google data centers. Waymo and Google's logistics team are pairing up to tackle this together, and this pilot program is the culmination of one year of testing in California and Arizona. "Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars". 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.

Uber has been testing self-driving truck technology since 2016, and began using autonomous rigs for hauls late previous year.

SEC Tournament Predictions: Will Missouri Cover Spread vs. Georgia? 3/8/18
Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr.is expected to return to the court in the team's second round SEC Tournament game on Thursday. He has not played since Missouri's November 10 season-opener against Iowa State , a game in which he played just two minutes.

Today's announcement comes a couple of weeks after Waymo announced its self-driving cars had covered 5 million miles on public roads.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik has alluded to autonomous trucks before, and so the assumption was that the company would eventually pursue some kind of autonomous trucking service. Even though most of those miles were for passenger vehicles, the firm says almost a decade of experience gives it a head start in trucking.

USA states set their own rules for roads, and a handful have passed laws allowing self-driving vehicles.

Autonomous-vehicle technology has been touted as having potential to save fuel, ease congestion, and make transportation safer.

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