Waymo autonomous trucks benefit from car experience
Since being founded as part of Google in 2009, Waymo’s Driver has driven more than 20 million miles on public roads in more than 25 U.S. cities, plus another 10 billion miles in simulation.
The company said it has tested its technology in four generations of self-driving vehicles, as well as Class 8 trucks.
While Waymo’s autonomous trucks use the same advanced self-driving software and suite of custom-built sensors as its cars and minivans, they are configured differently, said Georgeson. They operate on the same roads as Waymo’s other vehicles, she noted.
Potential commercial applications for Waymo’s technology include logistics, ride-hailing services, deliveries, and public transportation. The company also recently offered its lidar sensors as a standalone product to non-competitors.
The company’s Pacifica minivans, which it uses in its Waymo One ride-hailing service, are conducting the mapping for its autonomous trucks.
Once the vehicles have gathered data with multiple sensors, Waymo cleans it, annotates features such as crosswalks and intersections, and creates a map.
The map is put through quality control testing and then tested on vehicles. “This process is the same, no matter where we go, and it’s also the same process we follow when updating our maps,” said Georgeson.