After successfully developing the self-driving car, Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle division, is now made headway into developing self-driving long-haul trucks. Here’s a first sneak peak into how they would look.
The pictures of these trucks are the first ever public appearance of the vehicles and are released by Gizmodo thanks to an anonymous source while we all wait for an official release from Waymo. By the looks of it, the truck is a Peterbilt 579 auto transmission version most likely equipped with an automatic transmission and a SmartNav system making Waymo’s work easier.
Hardware making the truck autonomous is mounted on a roof rack which houses a central LIDAR dome and four ultrasonic sensors fixed on each side creating a complete sensory picture of the front and rear. A radar emitter is also attached low and center on the front bumper.
Jason Torchinsky of Gizmodo speculates,
“It’s possible there are additional sensors at the side and rear of the truck, mounted on the trailer, but I can’t confirm that from these pictures.”
How the truck sees the world is unknown to the world. We do know how the Tesla looks at the world as shown in the video below
Long-haul trucking is certainly under the radar of major tech players with the likes of Uber successfully driving a truck on a 120-mile journey without any human intervention just a few months ago.
Like other technologies, many speculate that this technology will lead to a huge lay off for truckers, but the reality is that we still have a long way to go before every truck would adopt the system. Besides, there remains a need for a human in the truck to work as a backup in case the 10,000-pound truck goes out of hand.