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Waymo will begin self-driving semi truck pilot in Atlanta next week

Autonomous trucks will transport cargo to Google's data centers.
Swapna Krishna, @skrishna
March 9, 2018
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Today, Waymo, which is Alphabet's self-driving company, announced a pilot program located in Atlanta to further test its autonomous technology. This time, though, the focus is on semi trucks. Beginning next week, Waymo's self-driving trucks will begin hauling cargo to Google's data centers. There will, of course, be highly trained drivers in the cabs in case anything goes awry.

To do this, Waymo is teaching its software, which has become accustomed to driving cars, how to instead 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.

Waymo isn't the only company testing self-driving truck technology. Embark has teamed with Frigidaire and Ryder to deliver smart fridges; one of its trucks just completed a trip from California to Florida. Also, Uber announced just this week that its autonomous trucks have been operating in Arizona for a couple of months now. That's a result of Otto, the company that Uber acquired in 2016 and has been the center of a lawsuit between Waymo and Uber. The two companies settled recently and are now discussing a partnership.

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