I’m a huge fan of the self-driving technology. I can’t wait until the first driverless cars go on the market; I’ll be one of the first in lone to but one, if I can. Not only will it improve traffic, curb (my) road rage, and allow greater alcohol consumption outside the home, it will also have the added benefit of making organizations like MADD and Alcohol Justice obsolete (which is why I believe they’re not pushing for this technology more). So as we get one step closer to eradicating drunk driving, I think it’s appropriate that the first commercial delivery of goods via a self-driving truck was essentially a beer run.
So a few days ago, the start-up company Otto announced that their first successful test run took place last week in Colorado, when a truck using their technology delivered 200 cases of Budweiser from their brewery in Fort Collins to Colorado Spring, about 120 miles away. Much like an airplane pilot, a drive manually drove it onto the highway and then engaged the autopilot which drove the truck the rest of the way to its destination. The drive hopped in the back to relax and was on hand the entire journey in case anything needed his attention.
The company itself was founded earlier this year, in January, and subsequently bought by Uber for $680 million in August. But it’s pretty impressive that they’ve gone from zero to successful commercial test in such a short time. According to various reports, several other car companies are working on similar technologies, too, so maybe a self-driving world might actually happen in my lifetime. That would be awesome.
Here’s a video of the story:
And Wired also has a video of the truck in action, and explains a bit about how it actually works.