Waymo Moves in on Uber Again With Self-Driving Truck Plans
Google parent company Alphabet's self-driving car division has some big plans. Literally. As BuzzFeed reports, Waymo is now looking to integrate its autonomous driving technology into a semi truck.
"Self-driving technology can transport people and things much more safely than we do today and reduce the thousands of trucking-related deaths each year," a Waymo spokesperson told PCMag. "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."
BuzzFeed said it first caught wind of Waymo's self-driving semi ambitions after seeing a photo of the rig. Waymo confirmed to the news outlet that it does have one truck on the road for testing -- with a human driver behind the wheel. At this point, Waymo is just collecting data for the project.
Waymo's autonomous trucking ambitions shouldn't sit too well with another company: Uber. The two are involved in a very public autonomous driving legal battle -- Waymo sued Uber in February, accusing the app-based startup of stealing its technology. Last month, Waymo sharpened the knives in that fight, teaming up with Lyft to bring autonomous vehicle technology to the masses.
Uber has already made some progress on the autonomous trucking front since acquiring the San Francisco-based self-driving truck startup Otto last year. In October, Uber's autonomous truck successfully completed a 120-mile beer run.
Meanwhile, a San Mateo, Calif.-based company called Embark earlier this year unveiled its own self-driving big rig, which uses radar, cameras and sensors to transport cargo without a human behind the wheel. The truck was specifically built to handle long stretches of freeway driving between cities.