A self-driving truck just hauled 51,744 cans of Budweiser on a Colorado highway


#1

CNN:

A self-driving truck just hauled 51,744 cans of Budweiser on a Colorado highway

Otto, a startup Uber bought this summer, used one of its autonomous trucks to complete a 120-mile trek in Colorado, which the companies are calling the first commercial delivery using a self-driving truck. The truck cruised down Interstate 25 with an empty driver’s seat. The human who piloted the truck from Anheuser-Busch to the highway shifted to the back of the cab until the truck exited the highway.
Before the trip even began, two tow trucks drove the route to make sure no vehicles were parked on the highway.
The driverless tractor-trailer was sandwiched between four Colorado state patrol cars and three vehicles from Otto. In one patrol car sat the executive director of Colorado’s department of transportation, Shailen Bhatt.
The state had overcome its reservations about the trip after Otto repeatedly drove the route autonomously with a human behind the wheel, who never had to intervene.

“This is a big deal. Transportation is being transformed by technology,” Bhatt told CNNMoney. “For me, it comes back to this: Technology can help us save lives.”
The test was months in the making. This spring, Anheuser-Busch (AHBIF), which makes Budweiser, reached out to Otto, then a highly regarded self-driving truck startup. The brewer was interested in how self-driving trucks could help its operation. Each year, its beer travels 450 million miles on U.S. roads.
“We’re eager to begin to scale this,” said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch. “I see a future where this technology becomes ubiquitous, it becomes similar to automatic transmission or cruise control.”
Otto and Anheuser-Busch did not pinpoint when they see the technology being used regularly and without police convoys. They’ll need to receive regulatory approval too. In Colorado, it’s a gray area, according to Bhatt.
Both pointed to autonomous technology as a way to improve road safety and make transportation more sustainable. They anticipate self-driving trucks will use fuel more efficiently than humans, because they will drive the speed limit and anticipate looming traffic jams rather than slamming on their brakes.

Goodbye truckers.


#2

I hope we all understand that accidents will occur because of this, and do not over-react when they do. Accidents occur now. The question that will have to be considered is whether this type of truck is significantly safer, to the point that we overcome our psychological revulsion to the accidents that do happen. In a way, this is a lot like the beginnings of air travel. Death may come with a loss of control, even if it proves ten times safer. That is scary.

We can always look to the bright side, that Stephen King may not be around when this becomes commonplace.


#3

There are going to be a lot of unemployed truck drivers (and cab drivers) in the near future. We’re going to have to figure out something to do about that.


#4

I wonder is self-driving cars and trucks can be hacked. I would guess so. What are the safety implications? Has anyone given much thought to a better security model than we have for computer and phone equipment? What we need is a system that will remain safe even if hackers break it. How can that be done?


#5

But if the autopilot feature only works on the highway, how will drivers be eliminated by this? Remember, there was a driver in the back of the cab the whole time, to steer the truck onto and off the main highway.


#6

By having a computer expert in every truck, monitoring the computer. Well, then they’ll also need a driver for driving in traffic off the highway. Perhaps also a safety person like a Sky Marshall to ensure that the computer monitoring guy isn’t doing anything bad.

Lots of people in the cab. Perhaps they’ll need to elongate the cab to accommodate all those people who will be replacing one truck driver. :wink:


#7

Well autopilot has not replaced pilots yet and there are self-driving trains already in operation yet locomotive engineers are still working. These automated systems for both trains and planes have been in operation for a long time and yet there is still a human in the loop.

I don’t think they’ll be replacing truck drivers anytime soon.


#8

The roads will be much safer when there are only self driving vehicles. Computers with loads of sensors can better control and regulate vehicles than people can. And vehicles will be able to talk to each other. Vehicles will be able to go faster and closer together with a much lower rate of accidents and fatalities.


#9

What size were the cans?


#10

As long as this technology proves no more dangerous than a human driver (who can after all be tired, distracted, drunk etc) then it seems to be a good thing. Once the bugs are worked out, it should be safer.


#11

I’m thinking the self-driving car is going to be a boon to several groups. For example, the elderly, since one of their resistances to giving up their licenses/cars is the loss of independence it represents.

Also, the blind–for those who have always wondered why there’s braille on drive-through ATMs, my mom works as a reader/driver for the blind–the idea is that so the blind person can sit in the back seat and work the transaction without having to hand over their card (and PIN) to what could be a stranger (say, a taxi driver) to do it for them.

Probably other disabled persons would benefit from a self-driving car as well. I figure by the time I’m old enough for vision/hearing/reflexes to be a major problem (barring anything happening between now and then) the technology will hopefully be commonplace enough and cheap enough that it won’t break a retiree’s budget.


#12

Two other groups:

Those that hate to drive, which I am a member of.

Those that can’t resist using phones or other distracting items while driving. I am also a member of that group.

Sometime in the near future I believe all cars sold will be self driving.


#13

All this human life in the balance, and you want to know how much beer? Yeah! I like that!:thumbsup:


#14

We are moving aggressively towards and automated and A.I. driven society. Goodbye jobs.


#15

We’ve been moving that way since the Industrial Revolution, if not sooner. I guess jobs of truck drivers, delivery persons, and taxi drivers will all eventually become obsolete. Balance that against the increase in safety, efficiency and cost.


#16

Not to treat it lightly, but if this becomes the norm, it will severely cut into the meth dealers’ profits, which would be a good thing.

And what will happen to all of those artery-hardening, deep-fried meals in the truck stops?


#17

55 gallon drums. In Colorado, babies are weaned on Coors and adults feast on that “pure Rocky Mountain spring water” that Bush now uses. :wink:

Big cans. REALLY Big Cans

Just what do you think the driver was doing in the back of the cab for 2 hours after all?


#18

Troubling thought.


#19

Driving a truck is easy.

The difficult part is unloading and loading the truck.

I have friends who are women who drive trucks. But they get hurt a lot with the unloading of bulky and heavy stuff.


#20

You say it like a bad thing! I’m saying goodbye jobs! :extrahappy:


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