Today’s Pickup: Waymo self-driving truck spotted

Waymo truck

Good day,

The first unofficial pictures of Waymo’s self-driving truck have emerged, creating a stir among the companies racing to become the first to make a production autonomous truck available.

According to Jalopnik, which obtained the pictures, the truck appears to be a Peterbilt model equipped with LIDAR on the roof, four ultrasonic sensors, and a radar on the front bumper.

Waymo is Google’s self-driving division. It has been in the news recently due to a lawsuit against Uber. Waymo alleges that Uber hired Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski for its self-driving program and that Levandowski stole trade secrets.

The case is ongoing.

Did you know?

Waymo, which started in 2009 as the Google self-driving car project, says it has more than 3 million self-driven miles completed.

Quotable:

“[The administration is] supposedly going to submit some sort of plan in the fall, so we’ll see. We’re sort of waiting on the administration to tell us what it is exactly they want to do. That ... would be an interesting debate and discussion, which might spill into next year.”

- Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, on the likelihood of an infrastructure bill passing the Senate in 2017

In other news:

Self-driving truck enters Guinness World Record book

The 132-mile journey that an Otto self-driving truck made last fall from Fort Collins, CO, to Colorado Springs to deliver a load of Budweiser beer has been certified as the longest “longest continuous journey by a driverless” truck according to the Guinness Book of World Records. (The Denver Post)

Senator committee adopts meal, rest break rule

An effort to standardize meal and rest break rules across the country has made it out of a Senate committee. The provision has been attached to an aviation funding bill. (Transport Topics)

Infrastructure bill may wait until 2018

The head of the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee told reporters that an infrastructure bill may not happen until 2018 as the Senate waits on the Trump administration to give it some direction the bill should take. (The Hill)

Delivering to the 9th hole

In an effort to provide the most flexibility delivery options available, UPS has begun delivering packages via golf cart in Kentucky, and that has upset the Teamsters union. (Wall Street Journal)

Consumer spending inches up

U.S. consumer spending for May moved up 0.1% in May, the Commerce Department reported. Consumer prices also rose, up 1.4% on a yearly basis, which is slightly off April’s 1.5% gain. (Reuters)

Final Thoughts

From early indications, the Waymo self-driving truck includes much of the same technologies that others have tried. With the clout of Google (not to mention the company’s history of testing self-driving cars) behind it, though, betting we may see one in production someday seems a safe bet.