Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car division, is said to be working on self-driving trucks now as well. The company has said that self-driving cars can get people from one place to another more safely than drivers can today. That is because self-driving cars actually follow the rules of the road, unlike humans. Which makes roads much safer than they currently are. And about half of the traffic on the road right now are trucks, whether they are part of UPS, and FedEx and bringing packages to people, or transporting other goods, they also need to be safer. And now Waymo is looking to expand their self-driving efforts on over to trucking.
According to a report out of BuzzFeed, Waymo is currently testing just one truck. Which means they are in the very early stages of testing self-driving trucks. The company is actually manually driving that truck right now, to collect data and get their autonomous software working correctly on the truck before they turn it loose on public roads. Waymo is looking to make all vehicles autonomous, to make roads safer, since so many people die each year in traffic accidents. The company has been testing autonomous cars for many years now and have many million miles under their belts in their fleet of autonomous cars right now. So it makes sense that they are expanding to a truck now, especially since Alphabet wants Waymo to be a profitable company.
The interesting part here is the fact that Uber, who Waymo is currently in a lawsuit with, is also testing self-driving trucks. In fact, Anthony Levandowski, who left Waymo to create Otto (the person who is around this entire lawsuit), was instrumental in Uber testing trucks. Otto was bought by Uber, and Levandowski became their head of self-driving cars. Although the company fired Levandowski earlier this week, after he was unable to follow the court’s ruling in its case with Waymo. Uber has since dropped the Otto trademark, essentially absorbing Otto completely into its company. It’ll be interesting to see if this all appears in the Waymo v Uber case, that’s currently ongoing.