Waymo is getting into trucks now.
Waymo is a self-driving car company that Alphabet spun off from Google. You can read all about Waymo in our in-depth guide here. The company has been building on software and sensor technology originally developed in Google’s secret labs since 2009 and is currently refining that technology through billion of miles of simulated tests, which, apparently, will soon include trucks.
Waymo is testing its own autonomous truck technology, according to BuzzFeed News, which saw the autonomous truck in a photo and then confirmed the project with Waymo. A Waymo spokesperson said it's taken eight years of building self-driving hardware and software to get to this point. Waymo's conducting a "technical exploration" into how its technology can integrate into a truck.
The spokesperson explained that Waymo aims to reduce the "thousands of trucking-related deaths each year." Keep in mind Uber, which purchased trucking startup Otto last year, is already testing shipment deliveries with its own self-driving freights, whereas Waymo has only just begun testing one vehicle. It's even still manually driving it on a public road in order to collect data.
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Google has long said that is it interested in tackling self-driving technology in an effort to stem the loss of lives attributed to car accidents. Over 1.2 million people die on roadways. In the US alone, traffic collisions kill over 35,000 people a year. Ninety-four percent of those crashes involve human error or choice, but self-driving tech could make transportation easy and safe for all.
In October 2015, Waymo completed the world’s first fully self-driving ride on public roads. You can watch a video of that here.