AB InBev and Uber teamed up last week for a ceremonial delivery: the first recorded commercial shipment delivered by self-driving truck. It was a load of Budweiser, and the truck made its 120-mile trip down a highway with no driver in the seat.
There was a driver on board, of course, ready to take the controls if needed. Self-driving trucks are a long way from widespread deployment in the real world: the trip from Fort Collins to Denver required careful mapping of the route, good weather, and an early-morning trip with light traffic.
The trucks for Otto, the startup that Uber acquired earlier this year, also can’t really navigate areas that are off the highway, which is why the early years of widespread commercial deployment of these trucks may mean that companies will have to keep paying a driver to sit in the back and take over to get the vehicle on and off the highway.
AB InBev says that’s cool: it’s still interested in autonomous truck technology because trucks that drive themselves would still have a lower fuel cost, and could spend more hours on the road since they wouldn’t be subject to the same break and sleep requirements as human drivers.
Uber Self-Driving Truck Packed With Budweiser Makes First Delivery in Colorado [Bloomberg Technology]
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist