Google’s autonomous unit turned into Waymo and from there on the company’s business certainly took flight – it’s now going to literally grow into being used for semi-trucks in a bid to enter a possibly extremely lucrative new market.
Waymo is seemingly going to compete with other established names – such as Uber’s Otto or possibly the Tesla Semi (we can’t imagine seeing a Tesla truck without the Autopilot as well). The company has announced it will put eight years of self-driving experience with both hardware and software to good use inside a big rig as well. This should happen in conjunction with the autonomous passenger-car testing still being trialed, and it will certainly require big changes to both hardware and software to accommodate the particularities of big rig travel. Anyone familiar with a lorry knows about its shortcomings – numerous blind spots, varying trailer dynamics and others.
Waymo is not late to the party either – just last year autonomous startup Otto became famous in Nevada (it apparently also broke the law) when a driver didn’t do his duty behind the wheel, all the while delivering 50,000 cans of beer. Autonomous trucks are certainly not a bad idea – especially if they can be convinced to navigate bad weather, mountain passes, heavy traffic, and a myriad of other extreme situations without any compromise to safety.