Starsky envisions trucks driving autonomously on the freeway, but having a human driver driving the truck remotely at the beginning and end of the trip.
Waymo will start testing a fleet of autonomous freight trucks in Georgia's capital this week that will take deliveries to Google's data centres. The company said that trained drivers will ride inside the truck cabs to monitor their progress and take over if needed.
"Atlanta is one of the biggest logistics hubs in the country, making it a natural home for Google's logistical operations and the flawless environment for our next phase of testing Waymo's self-driving trucks", the Waymo team wrote in a Friday blog post. 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.
Over the past year, Waymo has been quietly conducting road tests of Waymo's self-driving trucks in California and Arizona. It said that the software is learning to drive trucks in the same way a human would after years of driving a auto.
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Uber has been testing self-driving truck technology since 2016, and began using autonomous rigs for hauls late a year ago. They benefit from the same advanced self-driving software that has enabled our cars to go fully driverless in Arizona. However, truck drivers could eventually become a thing of the past as Waymo says "self-driving technology has the potential to make this sector safer and even stronger" in the future.
Tesla, of course, recently announced an all-electric semi truck with limited self-driving capabilities.
Trucking is a vital part of the American economy. There, the trailers are hitched onto self-driving trucks for long highway hauls, according to the San Francisco-based company. 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.