Autonomous vehicle technology developer Waymo started testing heavy-duty Peterbilt trucks in Texas this week.
It is part of a plan by the company, formerly known as Google’s self-driving car unit, to push into autonomous commercial vehicles.
Earlier this year, Waymo said it would focus testing efforts on trucking lanes in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It also targeted that southwest shipping corridor as the center of efforts to launch autonomous trucking and develop partnerships.
The region is a popular area for self-driving vehicle tests because of generally good roads and weather.
The trucks that started testing this week have fully autonomous capability but are staffed by trained safety drivers, Waymo told Trucks.com. They will be loaded with weights but won’t be carrying any goods for paying customers.
It is a different approach than some of the other companies developing autonomous commercial vehicles.