According to a note in the New York Times:
“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 said in a statement.
While self-driving cars may replace some number of private drivers, self-driving trucks could theoretically replace thousands of long-haul truckers. The industry often struggles with finding people who will spend weeks on the road. A self-driving truck fleet would eliminate that problem. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 1.8 million “Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers” in America.
Self-driving trucks face the same hurdles their auto counterparts do. It may take years before driverless cars are considered safe and reliable. The cost of the technology needed to power these vehicles is still relatively high.