Self-Driving Truck Makes Beer Delivery

Otto truck traveled 120 miles through Colorado
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 26, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
One of Otto's self-driving big-rig trucks leaves the garage for a test drive during a demonstration at the Otto headquarters in San Francisco.   (Tony Avelar)
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(Newser) – It was a beer run like no other: Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world's first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado, the AP reports. The company says it teamed with self-driving truck-maker Otto and the state of Colorado for the feat. The trailer, loaded with Budweiser beer, began the self-driving trip at a weigh station in Fort Collins and ran along Interstate 25 through Denver before wrapping up in Colorado Springs.

The company says a professional truck driver was on board for the entire route and monitored the trip from the cab's sleeper berth. Anheuser-Busch says it hopes to see self-driving technology widely deployed. Otto was recently acquired by Uber for $680 million. For now, the technology only works on highways, and co-founder Lior Ron tells Wired that they have no intention of trying to get rid of human drivers. He says he sees a future "where those trucks are essentially a virtual train on a software rail, on the highway," and human drivers take charge at depots to handle the last few miles to their destination. (Read more self-driving car stories.)

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