If you happen to see a self-driving semi-truck on the roads of Atlanta next week, don’t panic.
Waymo, the autonomous vehicle startup that was once Google’s in-house self-driving car project, announced in a Medium post this morning that it will be launching a pilot program in Atlanta next week where its self-driving trucks will carry cargo headed to Google’s data centers.
The company’s first fleet of self-driving cars hit the streets in the Phoenix area last fall and began testing their self-driving technology on Class-8 trucks in California as well.
In a statement, the company said that “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 same suite of custom-built sensors that were used in Waymo’s self-driving minivan have been implemented in these same self-driving trucks you’ll see in Atlanta.
“Waymo has been able to make rapid progress because the driver — Waymo’s self-driving technology — is both experienced and adaptable,” Jackson Spalding representative Cody Nichelson said in an email to Atlanta Inno this morning. “With Waymo in the driver’s seat, we can re-imagine many different types of transportation — from ride-hailing to logistics.”
Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed Waymo to the state of Georgia in a statement earlier today.
“On behalf of the State of Georgia, I am proud to welcome Waymo to Atlanta’s community of industry leaders,” said Deal. “The transport of freight and cargo is a critical driver for the American economy. Nowhere is this economic development tool more apparent than in Atlanta, the nation’s leading logistics hub. 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. 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.”