Bright blue, self-driving trucks will be traveling the roads of metro Atlanta bound for Douglas County starting this week.
Waymo, a Google-owned company, announced Friday it is launching a pilot program in metro Atlanta focused on self-driving trucking and logistics.
Waymo’s self-driving trucks will deliver cargo to Google’s 2-million square foot server farm in Lithia Springs, including server racks and server equipment, a Google spokesperson told the Sentinel Friday.
Waymo put the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving cars on the public roads in Phoenix last fall, the company said in a blog post Friday.
“Over the past year, we’ve been conducting road tests of Waymo’s self-driving trucks in California and Arizona,” Waymo said in the blog post. “Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars. The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer.”
Waymo said Atlanta was chosen for its next phase of testing its self-driving trucks because of the city’s position as one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country.
As its trucks hit the highways in metro Atlanta, Waymo said it will have “highly trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.”
“We’ve been able to make rapid progress because our driver — Waymo’s self-driving technology — is not only experienced, but adaptable,” Waymo said in the blog post. “Our self-driving trucks use the same suite of custom-built sensors that power our self-driving minivan. They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona. 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.”
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal praised what he called a partnership between Waymo and metro Atlanta.
“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.”