Uber Gains a Rival in the World of Self-driving Trucks
Waymo has announced it has begun working on self-driving trucks, possibly to further annoy its chief industry rival, Uber Technologies. On Thursday, the Alphabet-owned development team said it was venturing into autonomous trucking, only two weeks after UberFreight’s official launch.
While the ride-hailing giant has been working on self-driving trucks since its acquisition of Otto last year, the timing of the two more recent announcements are suspiciously close.
However, Waymo may not have intended for word to get out. Buzzfeed had apparently spotted a suspicious looking test vehicle plying public roads in a photograph and inquired as to its ownership.
“We’re taking our eight years of experience in building self-driving hardware and software and conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck,” a Waymo spokesperson explained in an official statement.
At present, Waymo is only testing a single truck and is focusing its efforts on data collection. Uber performed its first autonomous trucking delivery in October 2016 in a cross-promotional bid with Anheuser-Busch. In that stunt, the Otto-developed semi-trailer hauled a full load 120 miles down the highway with the driver only taking control on city streets. Comparatively, Waymo is only just scratching the surface on the quest to potentially eliminate millions of trucking jobs.
How are you going to get those protrusions on the fenders and the roof to go through a car wash without getting screwed up?
So much boasting, bluster and posturing...Why hasn't anyone challenged the industry with a friendly self-driving competition? My guess it's because no one is close yet...