Uber Self-Driving Truck Completes First Delivery – 50,000 Beers

Last Thursday (20th October), a self-driving 18-wheel truck made a delivery for the first time. The Volvo truck – which transported 50,000 cans of Budweiser over 100 miles across the US – is owned by Otto, a self-driving truck company based in San Francisco, recently purchased by taxi company Uber. Otto operates five such self-driving trucks, each packed with a plethora of cameras and sensors, and operated by an advanced self-piloting program.

The delivery started at an Anheuser-Busch facility in Loveland, Colorado, and ventured 120 miles to Colorado Springs. A human driver was responsible for getting the truck to a Fort Collin weigh station, while the self-driving program handled a good 100 miles of the subsequent journey itself, all monitored by the driver (plus a Colorado State patrol vehicle, which followed close behind), who remained in the cab’s sleeper berth. The driver took control of the truck the moment it entered the city limits of Colorado Springs.

“There were people in Colorado Springs this weekend drinking a Budweiser that was delivered by a self-driving truck,” James Sembrot, Senior Director of Logistics Strategy at Anheuser-Busch, told The Verge. “So that’s pretty cool.” Each can bore the message “First delivery by self-driving truck.”

“Ninety-four percent of fatalities are caused by human error,” said Otto co-founder Lior Ron, who went on to outline his company’s intent of making human drivers effectively redundant. “We fully intend to dive deeper: more types of highways, more weather conditions, more traffic patterns, and obviously more partnerships in the future.”

Ashley Allen

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