Last week, driving down Interstate 25 in Colorado was a Budweiser tractor trailer loaded with beer. This is not an uncommon occurrence. However if you glanced in your rear view at the truck, what you saw was anything but typical. The truck, you see, had no driver…
So you’re not going to fall for the idea of a “haunted truck”. If you’ve read this blog before you know my fascination with self-driving cars. This particular instance was a joint venture between Anheuser-Busch and Uber’ this s subsidiary OTTO, which specializes in making self-driving tractor-trailer trucks a reality. OTTO’s hardware helped the truck drive over 120 miles on this beer run all by itself.
The main thing OTTO isn’t doing [yet!] is city driving. The truck did have a driver on-board specifically for getting on and off the interstate to start and make the delivery. OTTO’s hardware here was essentially used as an AI auto-pilot for the easier and lengthier part of the trek. It stayed in one lane, accelerating and braking as necessary.
OTTO allows for higher productivity and greater safety. Truck Drivers can plot their breaks across longer stretches of highway where OTTO can be enabled. It allows for greater fuel efficiency and faster delivery.OTTO company attitudes seem to be based more on the idea that this is a tool for drivers and not a replacement for them and won’t be one for years to come. We’ll see.
Check out Uber and Budweiser’s video on the self driving truck below.