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Waymo Looking into Autonomous Trucks

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/2/2017 Motor Trend Staff
2017-Chrysler-Pacifica-Hybrid-for-Waymo-front-three-quarter.jpg Waymo Looking into Autonomous Trucks

Waymo, a company owned by Google's parent Alphabet, is exploring the possibility of developing autonomous technology for trucks.

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"We're taking our eight years of experience in building self-driving hardware and software and conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck," a Waymo spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters. The tech giant imagines autonomous trucks taking over long distance driving duties in the future, while humans will continue to handle local deliveries.

Unfortunately for Waymo, rivals have already created self-driving trucks. Mercedes-Benz built Actros autonomous trucks that have driven themselves from Stuttgart, Germany, to Rotterdam, Netherlands. Meanwhile, Tesla announced plans for an electric semi, which will likely incorporate some form of Autopilot technology.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo side profile detail© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo side profile detail

Another company named Otto has tested its self-driving big rigs on highways. Incidentally, Otto was recently acquired by Uber, which Waymo is suing over allegations of stolen trade secrets related to self-driving technology. Anthony Levandowski, former engineer at Waymo who then went on to lead Otto and Uber's self-driving unit, was accused of taking confidential documents from Waymo and uploading them onto his personal computer.

Waymo has already logged millions of autonomous miles on public roads, so it has plenty of experience should it decide to develop self-driving truck technology. In addition to forming a key partnership with Lyft, the company recently made its self-driving cars available to the public. As part of an "early rider" program in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, hundreds of people will rely on Waymo's self-driving Pacifica Hybrids and Lexus RX vehicles for their daily transportation needs.

Source: Reuters

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