March 9, 2018 / 2:45 PM / 3 months ago

Waymo's self-driving trucks to haul cargo for Google in Atlanta

(Reuters) - Waymo, the autonomous vehicle arm of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), said on Friday it would launch a self-driving trucks pilot in Atlanta to carry cargo for Google’s data centers.

FILE PHOTO: The Waymo logo is displayed during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The announcement comes two days after rival Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] said its self-driving trucks will haul cargo on Arizona highways.

Waymo had been road testing its self-driving trucks in California and Arizona over the last year, since making it public in July 2017.

"As our self-driving trucks hit the highways in the region, we will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed," Waymo said in a blog post. (bit.ly/2Id7pYh)

Autonomous vehicles offer a multi-billion-dollar opportunity to remake urban transportation systems, and companies ranging from Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to traditional car makers such as Ford (F.N) and General Motors (GM.N) are vying to dominate the market.

Waymo, which is among the leaders for this technology, expects autonomous vehicles to be able to take over longer distance trucking in the coming years, while allowing human drivers to handle local pickup and delivery routes.

“If you are in the Atlanta area, look for a bright blue Waymo truck making a run,” Waymo said.

Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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