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Artificial intelligence

Waymo’s self-driving trucks are carrying cargo for … Google

March 9, 2018

The two Alphabet companies are working on automating logistics operations, too, in places like warehouses and ports—but they face increasing competition.

The news: A Waymo trial is hauling cargo between Google’s Atlanta data centers. 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.

Going the distance: Waymo has already driven five million miles on public roads and another five billion in simulation. Even though most of those miles were for passenger vehicles, the firm says nearly a decade of experience gives it a head start in trucking.

But: There’s a lot of competition to automate trucking (or is that “truckers out of jobs”?). Embark’s driverless trucks went on a cross-country trip last month. Starsky Robotics recently tested a self-driving truck without anyone in it on a Florida road. Uber revealed earlier this week that its autonomous 18-wheelers are hauling freight. And Tesla’s Semi will have self-driving capabilities and be electric. Ten-four, Waymo?

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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