Self-Driving Truck Makes First Delivery

In July 2016, Uber acquired Otto, a startup focused on building self-driving semi-trailer trucks. With this move, Uber expanded its reach over self-driving transportation past its well-known ridesharing/taxi service.

On October 25, a self-driving truck delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer after a 120-mile maiden voyage. Although a human navigated the truck through city streets, the system took over after merging onto the highway. Otto’s technology comes with $30,000 worth of hardware and is compatible with any semi-trailer truck with an automatic transmission.

Full-scale replacement of human delivery drivers is unlikely in the near future, but Otto’s first steps show us the future applications of autonomous technology. Consumers could see a reductions in prices of goods shipped over long distances (especially as the cost of the technology comes down). Anheuser-Busch InBev estimates that self-driving technology could cut costs by $50 million a year. In addition, this technology could make trucking safer (and faster), alleviating the need for drivers to control the vehicle for hours and hours of highway driving.

Copyright for image: anhoog / 123RF Stock Photo

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Ashton DeLano is a junior at the George Washington University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics with minors in Business Administration and Computer Science. He intends to cover developments in the health and energy sectors and the impact of new technologies on the consumer.

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