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Waymo CEO sees driverless trucks catching on faster than taxis

6 November 2019

Story from Automotive News Europe.

True driverless cars have arrived from Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet, but the company’s chief executive officer says robot ride hailing may not be the first form of automotive autonomy to take off commercially.

Waymo has begun running what it calls “rider only” robotaxi rides in the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Chandler, CEO John Krafcik, said at a dinner with reporters in Detroit Sunday. Yet autonomous vehicles may take hold first in more mundane driverless delivery trucks that travel easily repeatable routes, he said.

“Where uses are strictly commercial and where we have very high confidence of delivering the outcomes that our commercial business partners would desire, we could have a much quicker ramp,“ Krafcik said. “So it could be that although we’re starting with” robotaxis “that a truck product could catch on faster.”

Waymo has been developing a self-driving system for big rigs, but its robotaxi service has received more attention after a decade of research by the former Google self-driving project.

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