Tesla looking to start testing autonomous lorry in "platoon" formation

12 August, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Tesla's teaser image of the semi truck

Entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk never stops when it comes to innovation, and now his company, Tesla, is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that will be self-driving.

Tesla is now involved in an email discussion with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regarding the same, as quoted by Reuters.

Tesla is expected to launch an electric semi-truck at an event in late September with shipments to be within two years. The electric-car maker also reportedly met with the California DMV to discuss "efforts with autonomous trucks".

Meanwhile, there is no official date out as of now for Tesla to conduct trials of the self-driving semi trucks in Nevada.

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Tesla and Uber are not the only companies to look at self driving cars. (Otto later claimed it did in fact have an engineer farther back in the cab of the truck.) It appears Tesla learned Uber's lesson and contacted the state's DMV first, although the Nevada DMV said that Tesla has not yet applied for the necessary permits to test an autonomous semi in the state. It's not surprising to see autonomy on Tesla's trucks.

The Nevada approach makes sense as the state has form in the area, with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) testing an autonomous Freightliner Cascadia, dubbed the Inspiration, in the state to much fanfare in 2015.

Tesla declined to comment on the matter, while Nevada officials confirmed that the company had not yet been given a license for the testing. Some of these tech firms are working on "platooning" technology which allow drivers to rest, while the automobile itself and trucks behind will follow the leader truck.

Musk has said that potential customers are eager to get a Tesla electric long-haul truck, but he faces doubt that the company can deliver. It has only now been stated however, that the vehicle will be self-driving. It also offers most of the trucks decreased wind resistance, which could help increase an EV semi's range-a major concern given the weight freight companies load semis with. Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher from Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters that long-haul electric trucks aren't commercially feasible yet.

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