Uber's self-driving truck division, Otto, linked up with beer company Anheuser-Busch and the state of Colorado to transport its first load of cargo that consumers will be able to buy from brick-and-mortar store shelves.
The truck used cameras, lidar sensors, and radar to keep of track of obstacles and other motorists while traveling on the 120-mile route between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. While the truck's computer was doing its thing, a driver was in the truck, outside of the driver's seat, monitoring the rig's autonomous movements. Otto claims the drive required zero interaction from the human driver inside the cabin.
51,744 cans of Budweiser were delivered on the trip.
Otto claims that with its self-driving technology, other motorists can feel assured that its trucks driver safer and more efficiently than those with a human behind the wheel.
Last week, The Drive reported on Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick, comments on and predictions about the future of self-driving trucks. "It’s going to take a while before all those trucks are autonomous everywhere it needs to go," Kalanick said. The CEO also explained that he believes Otto will primarily work to sell retrofittable self-driving hardware kits with which truck owners can modify their own rigs. These kits would likely still require a driver to be inside the confines of the rig without maintaining control of its actions.
Beer delivered by a truck that drives itself surely doesn't help knock down the "lazy, beer-drinking American" stereotype. It's cool and all, but seriously. What's next? Beer can-to-mouth via drone delivery?
Actually, that sounds kind of great.