Posted on October 26, 2016
Uber-Owned Otto Self-Driving Truck Makes History
Imagine a driverless truck driving up and down the streets of your neighbourhood for weeks on end, mapping roads and adding dummy trailers it hauled, and then filling them with beer to see how it would react when fully loaded. That’s exactly what Otto, Uber’s driverless truck, did before setting out on its first commercial cargo run without any driver in its front seat.
And what an initial cargo run it was! The Otto test proved that driverless truck technology is not only here, it’s alive and thriving, and it’s moving commercial goods successfully and safely. On its initial 120-mile beer run, the Uber-owned Otto self-driving truck actually made history, reaching a milestone whose implications are simply huge. If beer can be transported 120 miles without a problem, pretty well anything can. Check out this video about the driverless truck in action:
"We're just thrilled — we do think this is the future of transportation," James Sembrot, the senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch InBev, told Business Insider.
To Anheuser-Busch, Otto's ability to integrate with more than just one kind of truck meant it could save both money and the environment by working with operators who use Otto's self-driving technology, Sembrot said.
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"This was the first load," Sembrot said. "We are excited to not only do business with Otto going forward, but as Lior [Ron] scales the technology."
The Otto driverless truck carried two thousand cases of Budweiser beer. Retrofitted existing trucks with its driverless system, Otto was contacted this last Spring by Sembrot who had read about them in the news, and six months later they were transporting Budweiser beer by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The Uber-owned company is excited to continue improving efficiencies as it grows. Currently a driver is in the front seat just to help Otto get on and off interstate exit ramps.