(Image courtesy of Otto.)
For the first time ever, a self-driving truck has hauled 51,744 cans of Budweiser from Fort Collins, through downtown Denver, to Colorado Springs.
The historic delivery is the result of a partnership between Otto, a self-driving truck company recently acquired by Uber, and Anheuser-Busch. According to Otto, the project also had the full support of the State of Colorado.
By using the cameras, radar and LIDAR sensors mounted on the vehicle to “see” the road, Otto’s system controlled the acceleration, braking and steering of the truck to carry the beer exit-to-exit without any human intervention.
However, the truck was not unoccupied. A professional driver was onboard but out of the driver’s seat for the entire 120-mile journey down I-25, monitoring the self-driving system from the sleeper berth in the back.
“This shipment is the next step towards our vision for a safe and productive future across our highways,” stated Otto on the company website. “With an Otto-equipped vehicle, truck drivers will have the opportunity to rest during long stretches of highway while the truck continues to drive and make money for them. When you’ll see a truck driving down the road with nobody in the front seat, you’ll know that it’s highly unlikely to get into a collision, drive aggressively or waste a single drop of fuel.”
For more on autonomous vehicles, find out what tech it will take to put self-driving cars on the road.