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Alphabet’s Waymo announced today that it’s launching a pilot program in Atlanta where its self-driving trucks will carry cargo bound for Google’s data centers.
The trucks have been testing on roads in California and Arizona over the past year, but the program in Georgia will include actual freight. According to a press release:
This pilot, in partnership with Google’s logistics team, will let us further develop our technology and integrate it into the operations of shippers and carriers, with their network of factories, distribution centers, ports and terminals.
The big rigs use the same sensor suite that Waymo uses on the Chrysler Pacifica minivan driverless trials in Arizona. As Waymo’s self-driving trucks hit the highways in the region, they will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.
It’s been a big week for new technology in the trucking industry. In addition to Waymo’s announcement, Uber said on Tuesday that its own fleet of self-driving trucks has begun hauling commercial loads in Arizona. And, of course, Tesla made its first production cargo trip with its all-electric Semi.
“Trucking is a vital part of the American economy, and we believe self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and even stronger,” Waymo said in a release.