Waymo's self-driving trucks will start delivering freight in Atlanta

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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. Starting next week, Waymo's self-driving trucks will begin hauling cargo to Google's data centers.

Waymo today announced that it's launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics. Waymo will also work with Google's logistics team to find other places in the supply chain where self-driving technology can be used-inside factories and distribution centers, say, or at port terminals. However, the company said in a blog post today that its truck project had a head start thanks to its existing self-driving technology, which Waymo said is "not only experienced, but adaptable". Waymo says the "principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer". Earlier this year, Waymo announced that it would begin driving full-autonomous cars in Phoenix.

Both moves are only the latest steps in the advancement of self-driving auto technology. "And our engineers and AI experts are leveraging the same five million miles we've already self-driven on public roads, plus the five billion miles we've driven in simulation". Rival Uber made a similar announcement on Tuesday, saying it is using self-driving semi trucks to augment human-driven rigs in its on-demand trucking service in the USA state of Arizona.

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

"As we look to the future of innovation and efficiency, self-driving vehicles are at the forefront of enhancing roadway safety and making the transportation of American goods more feasible". There, the trailers are hitched onto self-driving trucks for long highway hauls, according to the San Francisco-based company.

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