Self-Driving Trucks To Test-Drive In Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA — More big trucks are going to be hitting Atlanta’s highways soon with one major difference — these trucks won’t have drivers.

Waymo, formerly Google’s self-driving car project, announced Friday that it will be bringing the big rigs it’s been testing in California and Arizona to Atlanta streets starting next week. The trucks will be carrying cargo bound for Google’s data centers in Georgia.

“Atlanta is one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, making it a natural home for Google’s logistical operations and the perfect environment for our next phase of testing Waymo’s self-driving trucks,” the Waymo team said in a blog post.

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Google has an office on 10th Street in Atlanta and a data center near Douglasville in Douglas County.

According to the blog post, training Waymo’s technology to operate tractor-trailers is similar to how a driver of a regular car learns over the years to drive one of the trucks.

“The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer,” the post said.

During the pilot program, which is being done in partnership with Google’s logistics team, highly trained drivers will be in the bright blue truck cabs to monitor progress and take control if necessary, according to Waymo.

Started in 2009, the Google self-driving car project became the independent company Waymo in 2016. In 2012, Google began testing its autonomous vehicles on busy city streets and, in 2015, a vehicle with no steering wheel, no pedals and no brakes made a successful journey in Austin, Texas.

Last year, the company launched its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and launched an “early rider” program in Arizona in which members of the public were invited to be part of a public trial.

The vehicles run on technology that includes sensors and software designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, road work and more from up to 300 yards away and in 360 degrees. The technology has been fine-tuned over more than 5 million miles of road testing, according to the company.

For more information on Waymo, check out their website.

Photo courtesy Waymo

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