Alphabet's Waymo takes on freight in Atlanta driverless semis

Waymo driverless trucks will go to work in the Atlanta area as part of a pilot program intended to help integrate autonomous big rigs with the operations of shippers ports terminals factories and distribution centers according to the company

The pilot is being done in partnership with Google, another Alphabet company and Waymo's former direct owner back when it was the Google self-driving vehicle project. During that process, Waymo began collecting data and mapping the metro Atlanta area to safely expand the operations of their self-driving cars. Waymo is starting out small with this pilot test, using these semi trucks to carry cargo destined for Google's data centers.

Over the past year, we've been conducting road tests of Waymo's self-driving trucks in California and Arizona.

The company cites Georgia's status as a logistics hub as the reasoning behind launching the pilot here.

In January, Waymo said it would start testing its minivans in Atlanta to experiment with driving in the city's dense traffic and high summer temperatures.

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The work being done with Google's logistics team means that it can also plug into an existing system for allocating loads, connecting shippers, factories, distribution centres, ports and more to have them ready to slot into the existing freight shipping ecosystem when fully ready. "We are excited to partner with Waymo, the leader in self-driving technology, in testing self-driving trucks here in the No. 1 state for business", Deal said.

The bright blue trucks in Waymo's Atlanta pilot will still have back-up drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.

Thus far, Waymo seems to have focused mostly on applying its self-driving technology to the ride-hailing market.

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