Waymo’s self-driving trucks will arrive on Georgia roads next week

The race to control the future of self-driving trucking just got even more competitive.Beginning next week, Waymo - formerly known as Google's self-driving car project - will roll out a pilot program in Atlanta where the company's technology will power Peterbilt Class 8 trucks to carry cargo bound for Google's data centers, the company announced Friday.The company's engineers have been testing self-driving trucks in California and Arizona, the same state where a fleet of 600 autonomous Waymo taxis has been on the roads without a human driver since November, the company said in a blog post."Our software is learning to drive big rigs in much the same way a human driver would after years of driving passenger cars," Waymo said in the post. "The principles are the same, but things like braking, turning, and blind spots are different with a fully-loaded truck and trailer."The company said its self-driving trucks rely on the same sensors as its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Unlike the minivans, Waymo said its trucks will have highly-trained drivers in the cabs to monitor systems and take control if needed.Waymo's news is the latest in a series of recent announcements that reveal the increasing speed at which self-driving vehicles - including cars, taxis and trucks - are appearing on American roads.This week Uber revealed the company has begun transporting freight across Arizona using automated big rigs. A Florida start-up called Starsky Robotics intends to make driverless deliveries in the company's trucks by the end of 2018, according to Wired.Not to be outshone, a start-up called Embark recently drove an automated truck across the country without a driver, completing a 2,400-mile journey from California to Florida.Though critics worry autonomous transportation will displace jobs, transportation companies point to a trucking labor shortage over the past decade as evidence the high-tech big rigs are a necessity. That shortage hit roughly 45,000 truck drivers in Continue Reading

The Latest: Persistent ice keeping many Georgia roads slick

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on wintry weather in the South and East Coast (all times local) 11:30 a.m. A Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman says icy conditions are persisting on many roadways, but all interstates were passable by late Wednesday morning. Agency spokeswoman Natalie Dale said crews were out working from south of Columbus, Georgia, up to the Tennessee border and about three-quarters of state roads were affected. She said it was "an all hands on deck situation." With temperatures not expected to rise above freezing Wednesday a hard freeze overnight was likely, meaning icy conditions are expected to continue into Thursday she said. Dale said many side roads and neighborhood streets aren't being treated and are icy and dangerous. State officials urged people to stay off the roads. She said people keep asking when Georgians "will get the all-clear." She said that wouldn't happen Wednesday. ——— 11:05 a.m. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said state government offices will remain closed Thursday in 83 of the state's 159 counties. Deal said in a statement Wednesday that only essential employees would report to work in the 83 counties hard-hit by the wintry weather that swept across Georgia on Tuesday night. The governor said the decision was made on a recommendation from Georgia's Emergency Operations Command. Deal said that ice is continuing to accumulate on Georgia roads since freezing temperatures were continuing Wednesday. ——— 10:40 a.m. Many of Louisiana's interstates are shuttered because of ice and snow that accumulated on roads and bridges overnight. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is urging people to only drive if absolutely necessary. Among the closures Wednesday morning are parts of Interstate 49 which cuts through central Louisiana up to north Louisiana. In southern Louisiana, closures included Interstate 10 from Lafayette to near Slidell 170 miles away; Interstate 12 from Continue Reading

Freezing rain could complicate Monday’s Alabama-Georgia game

A frozen fountain in Historic Forsyth Park still works despite freezing temperatures and rain, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. Only a few motorists ventured out in freezing rain that coated bridges and ramps with ice, forcing police to close roads and highways in Savannah. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) Two Savannah Chatham Metro Police officers set up a barricade in front of a bridge that was closed due to ice on the road, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. A brutal winter storm scattered a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from normally balmy Florida up the Southeast seaboard Wednesday. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) Vincent Sottile, center, and his brother Mike Sottile play hockey on the public tennis courts at Forsyth Park, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. A brutal winter storm scattered a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from normally balmy Florida up the Southeast seaboard Wednesday. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) Kenneth Freeman, carries his daughter Alora, 8, as they visit a frozen water fountain downtown in Atlanta, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. A brutal winter storm scattered a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from normally balmy north Florida up the Southeast seaboard Wednesday, adding to the misery of a bitter cold snap. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency through Friday for 28 counties because of the frigid weather. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Seeing her first winter weather, 9-month-old Roxie, eats snow off the ground of the public basketball courts at Forsyth Park, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. A brutal winter storm scattered a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from normally balmy Florida up the Southeast seaboard Wednesday. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton) Icicles hang from a street sign, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Savannah, Ga. Overnight freezing rain was followed by snow in late Wednesday morning. A brutal winter storm dumped snow in Tallahassee, Continue Reading

States with the riskiest roads, bridges and dams

The U.S. economy is the largest in the world, topping a GDP of $18.6 trillion in 2016. An economic powerhouse as massive and diversified as the United States depends on a network of highways, bridges, airports, and dams to thrive.And while the economy has grown every year since the recession officially ended in 2009, our nation’s infrastructure is not fairing as well.An estimated 17% of American dams — 15,500 in total — are categorized as high hazard potential, meaning their failure would almost certainly result in loss of life. Meanwhile, 11.2% of roads are in poor condition, which ultimately lead to vehicle damage and traffic delays. Vehicle repairs, fuel, and wasted time cost motorists an estimated $272 billion in 2014. Perhaps most troubling is the state of disrepair of bridges across the country as tens of thousands are classified as structurally deficient by the federal government.Infrastructure repair is one rare issue that often garners bipartisan support in Washington. While President Donald Trump previously proposed spending $1 trillion on fixing the country’s infrastructure, he recently abandoned his plans to form a Council on Infrastructure.The estimated cost of repairing roads, bridges, and dams in the United States is projected to top $2.4 trillion by 2025. Other necessary infrastructure repairs, including railways, airports, and wastewater infrastructure would cost an additional $2.2 trillion. 24/7 Wall St. created an index using the share of bridges, roads, and dams that are in a state of disrepair or potentially hazardous, to identify the states with the best and worst infrastructure.50. Florida> Roads in poor condition: 3.2% (3rd lowest)49. Kansas> Roads in poor condition: 2.2% (the lowest)48. Minnesota> Roads in poor condition: 6.6% (22nd lowest)47. Montana> Roads in poor condition: 4.0% (10th lowest) More: Least livable: 50 worst cities to live in 46. Georgia> Roads in poor condition: 3.9% (8th Continue Reading

Rolling Mississippi State faces tough road game vs Texas A&M

Mississippi State has looked like one of the better teams in the Southeastern Conference at times this season, and one of the worst. The disparity can be largely boiled down to one thing: Location. Mississippi State is undefeated at home, crushing all four opponents it has faced. But the Bulldogs are just 1-2 away from Davis Wade Stadium, including lopsided losses in both conference games against Auburn and Georgia. "Road games, we've kind of gotten out of character, gotten a lot of penalties and false starts," Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald said. "We've not been handling the environment very well. "I think a lot's changed since those two games." Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2 SEC) gets another chance to fix its road woes when it travels to face Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1) on Saturday. The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 45-7 home victory over Kentucky last weekend. The Aggies have recovered from their second-half collapse in the season opener against UCLA, winning five of six games, including a 19-17 victory over Florida last weekend. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Texas A&M is a good team and that the stunning loss to UCLA has proven to be an aberration. Throw in a hostile crowd of about 100,000 people at Kyle Field and the coach is certain the Bulldogs have a tough task ahead."With the exception of about 17 minutes of this season, they'd probably be a Top-10 team, if not a Top-5 team right now, that we're getting ready to play," Mullen said.Fitzgerald is right that penalties and other miscues hurt the Bulldogs in their previous losses, but those weren't the only problems. The quarterback had just 240 yards passing combined against Auburn and Georgia — completing less than half of his throws — and the one-dimensional offense wasn't able to move the ball.Fitzgerald was much more efficient in the team's recent wins over BYU and Kentucky. Now the junior needs it to carry over in a much tougher game — and Continue Reading

Tour bus crash in Georgia kills at least 1, injures 35

At least one person was killed Thursday when a tour bus collided with a semi-truck on a rural Georgia road, officials said. Another 35 people were injured in the crash on Highway 515 in Gilmer County, about 65 miles north of Atlanta, the sheriff’s department told WSB-TV. No other details, including the cause of the crash, were immediately released. It’s not clear where the tour bus was heading. This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. Continue Reading

Georgia locksmith kills girl, 15, injures two after crash while chasing down man who owed him $175

A Georgia locksmith was arrested for driving away after running over three teenage girls — killing one — while chasing down a man who stiffed his bill, police said. Tansu Kanlica, 27, raced his work van down Barrett Lakes Boulevard in Kennesaw — about 25 miles north of Atlanta — to catch Garrett Anderson, 23, who refused to pay $175 after the locksmith opened his car on Sunday, police said. But Kanlica suddenly lost control and his 2004 Nissan vaulted the curb, striking the three girls — Reina As-Salaam, 15; Monica Epps, 16; and Juliana Ferrell, 16 — as they walked to a nearby movie theater, WSB-TV reported. Tansu Kanlica, 27, and Garrett Anderson, 23, both drove away from the scene after the locksmith slammed into three teens - killing one - during a chase on a Georgia road. Both drivers sped away from the scene, leaving the teens bleeding on the side of the road. As-Salaam, of East Point, died before emergency workers responded. Her two friends were rushed to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where Ferrell remained in critical condition on Monday. “I’m just hoping and praying that she’s going to wake up and be her,” her mother, Jane Ferrell, told the news station. Kanlica was arrested a few miles away. He was booked on a litany of charges that include first-degree homicide by vehicle, reckless driving and hit-and-run resulting in injury, police said. Anderson was arrested at his home and booked on charges that include first-degree homicide by vehicle, reckless driving and theft of services. Kanlica was in the news last fall, when he was arrested after assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a bus stop, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The victim, who was thrown to the ground during the scuffle, ran to a local Pep Boys store Continue Reading

Georgia man whose wife died in drunk-driving wedding day crash indicted for vehicular homicide

A Georgia man charged with killing his newlywed wife in a drunken driving crash just hours after the two tied the knot has been indicted on multiple charges. Ryan Quinton, 28, will be prosecuted for vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and reckless driving in relation to the horror smash off a Cherokee County road on Dec. 29. His bride Kali Dobson, 25, was ejected from the Pontiac Firebird and died. Quinton initially told cops that he swerved his sports car on the rural Georgia road in Ball Ground to avoid hitting a dog. But investigators then discovered that his blood-alcohol level was 0.114. The state's legal limit is 0.08. Quinton, of Jasper, was indicted by a Cherokee grand jury last week, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The tragic crash happened just hours after the couple married and held their reception at the Wheeler House on Gilmer Ferry Road. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

VIDEO: Baby safely rescued from car after driver leads Georgia police on high-speed chase

A high-speed police chase on a dusty Georgia road nearly ended in disaster after officers realized an abducted baby was in the back seat. But the 8-month-old boy was found safe after suspect Samantha Barrett, 22, crashed the car Wednesday and tried to run off. Officers with the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office quickly chased her down and cuffed her. The mother of baby William Stover had no sympathy for Barrett — now a former friend. “We’re enemies now,” mom Kristyn Howard told reporters after she learned her son was rescued. “I hope they light her a-- on fire!” The drama began late Tuesday, when Howard said she was home in Acworth, north of Marietta, and Barrett had come over. They were planning to go to the store, Howard told ABC affiliate WSB-TV. The mom placed her son in her car, but decided to run back inside to grab a lighter. When she came back out, her 2003 Ford Taurus was gone — along with Barrett and the baby. An Amber Alert was issued for the boy. After 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, cops got a call about a car matching the same description on Interstate 75 in Henry County. They were able to catch up to the vehicle, but the driver sped away. During a chase, the car reached speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, according to reports. After veering off the highway, Barrett crashed, police said. Video of the perilous pursuit was caught on a police dashboard camera. A witness told WSB-TV she heard a loud noise. “I think what I heard is when she hit this pole,” said Nancy Turner. “She was already out of the car and was running toward my house. She was almost at my front door (when) three officers tagged her, put her in handcuffs,” Turner added. Despite the car crash, William was found with no injuries, police said. “The way the car looks, I’m surprised he’s alive,” said Howard, adding, “He is happy, as always.” Barrett faces Continue Reading

3 musicians die when tour van carrying 2 metal bands veers off Georgia interstate

At least three metal rockers died Monday when a tour van carrying two bands ran off a northern Georgia road. At least eight other people were injured, three critically, when the van crashed off of Interstate 85 in Jackson County around 7 a.m., the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Nine men and three women from two heavy metal bands — Khaotika and Wormreich — were aboard the doomed tour van, officials said. The names of the victims have not been released. Police have not determined the cause of the crash. Parts of the road are closed while officials investigate, WTSB reported.  The 15-passenger van was hauling a trailer of equipment when it ran off the road, down an embankment and into a tree after the driver, who survived, lost control, FOX 5 reported. Three men were ejected from the van and died at the crash scene, officials said. The two bands played in Spartenburg, S.C., on Sunday and were on their way to Atlanta for another gig Monday. “3rd show just came to the end. Thank you Spartanburg for flying the metal flag,” Khaotika posted on its Facebook page Sunday. “Horns up. Tomorrow - Atlanta, GA” The Atlanta show has been canceled, according to Acrucé Mortem, another metal band set to play at the Monday night gig. "We regret to announce we will not be playing The Basement tonight with Kult ov Azazel Wormreich, Khaotika, Vesterian, and Ancalagon due to an accident involving members of two of the bands performing tonight. Our thoughts are with those involved," Acrucé Mortem posted on Facebook. According to their Facebook pages, Khaotika and Wormreich are based in Atalanta and Huntsville, Ala., respectively. This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading