TESLA WORKING ON SELF-DRIVE TRUCKS
Carmaker planning to test long-haul, electric prototype in Nevada, California
TESLA Inc is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Meanwhile, California officials met with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks”.
The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil next month, and is advancing towards real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.
Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture.
Several Silicon Valley companies developing self-driving technology are working on long-haul trucks.
They see the industry as a prime market for the technology, citing the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic trucks face on highways and the benefits of allowing drivers to rest while trucks travel.
Some companies also are working on technology for “platooning”, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers.
Musk has said potential customers are eager to get a Tesla electric long-haul truck, but he faces doubt that the company can deliver.
While established trucking companies and truck manufacturing startups have poured resources into electrifying local package delivery fleets, battery range limitations have largely kept the industry from making electric trucks that travel across swaths of the country. Reuters
Tesla Inc is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it plans to unveil next month, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport.