It’s no stretch to stay that autonomous vehicles will soon usher in a paradigm shift in the transportation industry. Aside from opening up new possibilities in logistics, ride-sharing, and public transportation, self-driving vehicles could also put millions of professional drivers in many different industries out of work. While those are the biggest and most obvious disruptions to the transportation industry, the advent of self-driving vehicles will likely also see many new names appear on the auto market to displace large automakers. Uber, Lyft, and Google’s Waymo are already miles ahead of established automakers in developing self-driving fleets, and Waymo’s fleets already outrank self-driving offerings from the biggest names in the auto business. In what could signal a sign that Waymo will soon be a household name, the tech firm has just announced that Waymo vehicles are coming to Atlanta, Georgia. Will the deep south embrace Big Tech as Silicon Valley has?
The move still isn’t official, but Waymo hinted at the move on social media this week. The official Waymo Twitter account tweeted the hint, writing that Metro Atlanta could soon be the next urban area to have a full-fledged self-driving vehicle program:
Hello ATL! Metro Atlanta is the next stop for Waymo’s test program. Now that we have the world’s first fully self-driving vehicles on public roads in AZ, we’re looking to take our tech to more cities.
Details are still scarce, and Waymo has yet to set a date on when their fleets might hit Atlanta streets. So far, the company has only said that they have begun mapping Atlanta metro streets and Waymo spokesperson Lauren Barriere has said only that the company is “focused on taking our technology to a wide variety of cities and environments.”
Maybe it’s only due to my bias as a Southerner, but it seems like Atlanta is a perfect place to introduce Waymo to a whole new segment of the population far from the west coast. Atlanta is home to the world’s biggest airport and some of the worst traffic on the east coast. If Waymo can take hold in the ATL, Google could soon dominate the self-driving vehicle market on both coasts.