Autonomous truck technology made a great step forward with its first commercial shipment, loaded with Budweiser beer and with the driver seat empty for almost the complete route. This first delivery was the result of the collaboration between Anheuser-Busch and Otto, acquired by Uber earlier this year. This test was carried in the state of Colorado, within the area of Colorado Springs. With the way things are going regarding the growth in technology, it´s completely possible to begin to see other autonomous trucks in other states.
The vehicle was a Volvo VNL truck, completely equipped with radar, lidar sensors and cameras. The system of Otto had control of the braking, steering and acceleration of the truck. Lior Ron, Otto’s co-founder, informed that the driver’s role consisted of being a co-pilot, as he only needed to monitor the system from the sleeper cab, drive onto the interstate, and later assume the control again once the truck left the interstate in direction to its destination.
Even though, Anheuser-Busch only has the feedback from only one delivery in a short route, they are very confident with the technology offered by Otto´s and the results. They consider it will increment efficiency, enhance safety and make truck operations more sustainable. The drivers will still be inside the truck but they could now be more productive and rest during trips that require long hours on the road.