Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, said on Twitter on Thursday that this week it will deploy part of its autonomous fleet in Texas and New Mexico, to learn about new road conditions and environments. The autonomous cars of Waymo are already on the roads of Arizona, in the southwest of the United States.
Its Chrysler Pacifica minivans will map the roads, and the trucks will be mainly the major axes around the cities like El Paso, Dallas, and Houston. They will not carry any loads during the tests, and a “safety driver”, nevertheless, will be there in the driver’s seat to take control in an emergency. An application allows you to call the vehicle to circulate within a defined perimeter.
The demonstration of their innovative FireFly vehicle prototype, which had no steering wheel or pedals, took place in Austin in October 2015. They maintained an office in the city until November 2019, when they closed it abruptly.
Alphabet’s subsidiary had already tested its Class 8 trucks in California, Arizona, and Georgia, so this territorial expansion is sure to be good news for the company’s stated plans to launch itself in the area of cargo transportation.
“These are interesting and promising commercial routes, and we’ll be using our vehicles to explore how the Waymo Driver might be able to create new transportation solutions,” said the company. “Waymo Driver” is the company’s shorthand for its autonomous vehicle hardware and software system.
While testing in Arizona appears to be primarily focused on consumer applications, testing in New Mexico and Texas appears to be more commercially focused. Autonomous technology can be used by trucks over long distances because highways and expressways offer fewer variables to manage than city streets.