USA’s first self-driving semi truck, Otto was in action as it made its first major delivery of 50,000 Budweiser beers from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs.
The one of its kind truck took the $30,000 worth beer on the 120 mile trip for the first time and was able to deliver it without a hitch.
Uber took over the San Francisco startup Otto for $670 million this summer. Otto has been known to create self-driving technology, but for now, its trucks only function on the highway where the traffic is more predictable. The driver just needs to put the 18 wheeler on the interstate, and after that truck’s self-driving function takes care of the rest.
Otto co-founder Lior Ron said,
“The initial appeal for us was to see how we could meet the needs of a company like Anheuser-Busch. But now after this successful test, we’re eager to see how it will handle other roads and other weather. Anheuser-Busch is all about the technological improvement, especially if it means higher safety for their drivers.
James Sembrot head of logistics for Anheuser-Busch said in an interview,
“We think that self-driving technologies can improve safety, reduce emissions, and improve operational efficiencies of our shipments.”
Ron pointed out that although this is a major milestone, it is just the start of the practical testing phase. He revealed that the company plans to program more holistic experiences into the vehicles to make them prepared for anything the road throws at them.
He added on,
“The technology is ready to start doing these commercial pilots. Over the next couple of years, we’ll continue to develop the tech, so it’s actually ready to encounter every condition on the road.”
In the USA, the trucking industry carries 70 percent of the nation’s goods, but there are nearly 400,000 truck accidents each year, mainly due to human error. These autonomous and self-driving trucks will surely make this number fall, but on the other hand, a potential loss of nearly 175,000 drivers by 2024 is reported to occur as per the American Trucking Association.
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