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Waymo and Daimler team up for production self-driving semi in 'coming years'

A self-driving Freightliner semi is in the works.

Waymo-Daimler partnership
Ready for a self-driving Daimler semi?

One of the world's largest self-driving car companies and commercial truck builders forged a partnership on Tuesday. Alphabet's Waymo division dedicated to autonomous car technologies will work with Germany's Daimler to bring a self-driving semi truck to market in the future.

The time frame is to be determined. All the two companies said is there will be an autonomous Freightliner Cascadia truck from Daimler equipped with Waymo's Waymo Driver functionality in the "coming years." That could be a couple of years, a few years or in the next decade, so don't prepare for autonomously shipped goods en masse just yet. Daimler continues to push Freightliner in new directions, though. Last year, it shipped its first electric Freightliner semis to customers in the US.

Waymo Driver will provide SAE Level 4 self-driving capability to the future Freightliner truck, but the collaboration may spill into other Daimler brands, too. Perhaps that's a not-so-subtle hint that Mercedes-Benz, which Daimler owns and operates, could get Waymo self-driving smarts.

That's really all the two companies had to share, though Waymo underscored its confidence in the self-driving tech under development. So far, Waymo says its robo driver has covered 20 million miles on public roads in 25 cities across the US. The tech has experienced another 15 billion miles in Waymo simulations. Essentially, Waymo makes the tech drive in the virtual world, where it can encounter tougher driving scenarios and learn more.

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