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Waymo Via, focused on trucking and local delivery, has been testing its driver technology (sensors, cameras and algorithms) on Peterbilt 579 Class 8 trucks and Chrysler Pacifica minivans since 2017; long before the advent of coronavirus and the interruptions it caused within the logistics and transportation sector.
It seems that Waymo imagines a steadfast logistics industry, including improving safety, speed and efficiency, based upon on automated vehicle technology.
And they're not the only ones.
Waymo won the support of investors near Mountain View, California in their first external fundraising round resulting in US$3b for both consumer and commercial projects. The company's competitors, Plus.ai and TuSimple are also attracting millions in support funding.
So why spend so much money on automated trucking technology?
Waymo's automated system can “see" three football fields away using cameras, radar and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. “We have roughly two times the sensors as a car does," Waymo explained to FleetOwner.com
In the article by FleetOwner.com, Waymo cites safety as the main reason to develop the tech, but basic delivery models also stand to benefit.
Automated trucking and fleet technology, like HERE Fleet Utilization, can make roads safer by eliminating human-related issues including fatigue and distraction, and also have the potential to change how we deliver goods by increasing productivity and lowering costs. “We believe our technology can help minimize... fleet downtime and have a positive effect on the company's reputations and insurance costs, as well as helping ensure that the shipments arrive safely, securely and on time...," Vijaysai Patnaik, Waymo Via's product lead said to FleetOwner.com
Here are just three examples of how automated trucking can make lasting positive effects:
“...Due to an average 50% asset utilization and three-hour dwell times, inserting self-driving tech could improve [logistics] efficiency," Vijaysai Patnaik, Waymo Via product lead as reported by FleetOwner.com.
When autonomous trucking officially revolutionizes the trucking industry is yet to be determined, but companies like Waymo are investing in the payback now.
In fact, Waymo Via recently partnered with UPS to deliver packages. They're focusing on point-to-point and transfer hub deliveries, in the San Francisco Bay Area and from Houston to the Arizona-California border.
Find out how location services can support your fleet with HERE's Transportation and Logistics APIs.