After acquiring the self-driving truck company Otto over the summer, Uber’s been quietly scheming up plans to disrupt the long haul trucking industry. And the company’s latest stunt shows it sees progress as being in the eye of the beer holder, after an autonomous Otto big rig recently hauled 50,000 cans of Budweiser from Ft. Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs.
The truck traveled along the 120-mile stretch of Interstate 25 without the aid of a human at the wheel, navigating the two-hour trip on its own while a driver sat in the truck’s sleeper berth, notes Reuters. The Otto was initially controlled by a driver during the beginning of the trip, as it navigated residential streets with pedestrians and stop signs, and the truck’s autonomous system took control after it merged into the highway.
For Anheuser-Busch executive James Sembrot, this whole thing is a coup for American ingenuity and beer -- two things inextricably linked to Budweiser as it marches cold lager into the future. "We can see a future where this type of equipment is standard on all trucks," he said, after telling Reuters that Budweiser trucks log 450 million miles across the United States annually. Otto was paid a market rate $479 for the job, which would have otherwise been completed by a sleep-deprived human.
Tech Crunch notes that Otto trucks are capable of Level 4 autonomy -- the highest degree of self-driving capability -- and it’s likely that you’ll see self-driving trucks on the road long before your uncle coasts home in an autonomous sedan. That's despite Elon Musk's claims that Tesla is finally getting its act together.