Uber-Otto self-driving truck makes history with first commercial delivery of 50K beer cans

By : |October 26, 2016 0

It was indeed a historic moment when Uber-owned, self-driving semi-truck developer, Otto last week completed a 120-mile Budweiser beer delivery across Colorado without a driver behind the wheel.

The whole drive passed without a hitch with a state trouper following the truck to monitor progress. The truck maintained an average speed of 55 miles per hour throughout the trip and only when the truck drove into the city, the driver got back into his seat.

CIOL Uber-Otto self-driving truck made history with first commercial delivery of 50K beer cans

Speaking to Verge, James Sembrot, Senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch facility from where the truck picked up 50,000 cans of beer, said, “There were people in Colorado Springs this weekend drinking a Budweiser that was delivered by a self-driving truck. So that’s pretty cool.”

Equipped with an array of camera, radar, and LIDAR sensing technology, the trailer drove itself along Colorado Springs at an average speed of 55 mph, using GPS and hyper-accurate digital maps created on a scouting run to guide the way.

For those who have started worrying about humans being pushed out of their jobs anytime soon, take a breather. Otto’s technology works only on the highway, where it doesn’t have to deal with tricky variables like jaywalking pedestrians, four-way stops, or kids on bicycles. It maintains a safe following distance, and changes lanes only when absolutely necessary.

“The technology is ready to start doing these commercial pilots,” said Otto co-founder Lior Ron. “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.”

Ron also elaborated about his plans for the future, which involve making sure that truck delivery systems basically become sort of like trains running on rails for the time they are on a highway, with the driver’s job limited to piloting it once off the highway.

Go-anywhere, do-anything autonomy is the ultimate goal, but that requires tackling far more complicated city environments, along with things like parking. “That’s a pretty big leap,” Ron says.

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