This morning, Waymo (the self-driving subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet) announced that it would be conducting a pilot program for self-driving trucks in Georgia. The trucks hitting the road will help out with Google’s logistical operations in the region, putting to use a huge amount of data from previous autonomous-driving experiments.
“Our engineers and AI experts are leveraging the same 5 million miles we’ve already self-driven on public roads, plus the 5 billion miles we’ve driven in simulation. In short, our near-decade of experience with passenger vehicles has given us a head start in trucking,” the announcement post states. That’s cool; I’ve driven 6 billion miles in simulation but Google’s work is pretty impressive too.
You know who might not be happy about this, though? Truck drivers! “Trucking is a vital part of the American economy,” Waymo admits. So vital in fact that there were 1.8 million truckers in 2016. Wonder where they’ll all go. Actually … don’t think about that too hard. Just concentrate on how cool a self-driving truck sounds.
Anyhow, if you see a bright-blue Waymo truck on the road in Atlanta, take a look at whether anyone’s driving it. And if you see the truck barreling straight at you and ignoring traffic lights, maybe get out of the way!