Otto, a one-year-old company owned by Uber, has completed a beer delivery mission using a self-driving delivery truck. Amazing!
I know we’ve heard rumors here and there about self-driving cars, but never about driverless 18-wheelers making deliveries across 120 mile expanses. That’s an entirely new concept. The New York Times reports that this delivery went from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs. That’s 120 miles across Colorado’s Interstate 25.
According to Fox News, the technology behind this great endeavor includes an array of camera, radar and LIDAR sensing technology. The truck went an average speed of 55 mph and followed GPS digital maps all while the truck’s usual human driver hung around in the sleeper cabin.
The partnership between Anheuser-Busch and Otto is the very first of its kind, and although far into the future, Otto does believe this kind of technology can someday be commercially available. Most likely, it will lead to an uproar of controversy involving lost jobs for truck drivers, but I’m sure they’ll find a place for them.
“We’ve tested with trailers, of course, but there’s nothing like actually doing the real thing, end to end,” Otto’s co-founder, Lior Ron, said to The New York Times.
Uber is working on this delivery technology in hopes of becoming a large-scale transportation network, in which the company can transport anything clients desire, around the globe and 24/7. Where better to start than with beer?
“We view self-driving trucks as the future, and we want to be a part of that,” says James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch.
This first delivery was completed by driving side-by-side with passenger traffic on the interstate, and was overseen by a licensed truck drive just in case anything was amiss. It left early in the morning from the Anheuser-Busch location in Loveland, Colorado, and made its way through Denver by normal means, with no incidents to report along the way.
As the self-driving truck program grows, the next step will be to work with different weather conditions and road types, which will certainly bring new obstacles to the scene. This may not mean much to consumers, but it’s still exciting as ever!