Tesla to manufacture driverless 'platooning' semi-trucks

Joanna Estrada
August 12, 2017

This mode will have at least two trucks moving one after the other in close proximity (the second one automatically follows the first). Ars has reached out to Tesla for comment and we'll update if we receive a response.

The idea that Tesla is working on incorporating self-driving technology into its upcoming semi truck falls in line with how aggressive the company has been at building the same tech into its consumer cars.

The company's main task over the next year is to get its lower-priced Model 3 electric auto into volume assembly at high quality, a process CEO Elon Musk has called "production hell".

If successful in its pursuits, Tesla could disrupt the truck manufacturers, the energy sector, and the drivers themselves. Development of a Tesla truck is already underway, however - it isn't just an electric truck.

According to Reuters, Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has received an approach for testing the Semi and that DMV volunteered that talks were to take place between the government of California and Tesla. That company is still enmeshed in a complex lawsuit filed by Google's Waymo self-driving vehicle unit. The technology is also seen favorably by truck makers since the vehicles don't face cross-traffic scenarios and operate at a constant speed on highways.

Several other Silicon Valley companies are developing autonomous driving technology and are working on long-haul trucks. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. Peloton considers platooning as an important precursor to autonomy when it comes to long-haul driverless trucks, in order to increase safety and efficiency.

"This will be a very spry truck", Musk said.

On the one hand, the thought of having unmanned, self-driving big rigs on public roads will probably give officials in California and Nevada cause to pause.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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