Waymo and Google launch a self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta

Waymo’s autonomous trucking program is coming along – though we haven’t heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing last year, Waymo today announced that it’s launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics.

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 car project. Waymo’s trucks will be hauling cargo destined for Google’s Atlanta-based data centres as part of the program.

These autonomous big rigs have been testing in both California and Arizona one the course of the past year, Waymo says, and now they’re ready to roll in Georgia, too. They use the same sensor suite that Google uses on its autonomous Pacifica minivan test platform, and make use of the same software that helped Waymo achieve fully driverless trials in Arizona, the company notes.

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. The trucks themselves will of course have trained safety drivers at the wheel as they roll down Georgia highways to monitor and assume control.

This news comes after Uber revealed its own autonomous trucking progress earlier this week, and after startup Embark reported a cross-country trip of its own test platform earlier this year.