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Uber’s self-driving semi-truck makes 120-mile beer run



Uber's self-driving truck hauled beer 120 miles across the country successfully.

Uber’s self-driving truck hauled beer 120 miles across the country successfully.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – Last week, self-driving truck start-up Otto teamed with Anheuser-Busch to successfully deliver a semi-tractor full of beer from Fort Collins, through Denver and on to the southern Colorado city in the shadow of Pikes Peak.

For the majority of the 120-mile trek, the truck’s driver left his seat and observed the road from the comfort of the sleeper cabin. While this is a good leap in technology and innovation there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to self-driving vehicles, especially when it comes to insurance companies like one sure insurance who are still trying to figure out their policies. These policies could cover a number of issues, for instance, who is to blame should an accident occur while on the road, and would the insurance still cover repair costs if the truck needed to visit a diesel mechanic or repair service? These questions, while important, remain unanswered, however, you can visit the Ferguson Truck Center website to learn more or ask them for their opinion on this subject.

For now, Otto’s tech is at present confined to highways, and humans take over in city traffic but these questions still linger. Otto and Anheuser-Busch, which announced the news Tuesday, plan additional real-world autonomous truck drives in the months ahead. This could be a big leap within autonomous trucks and self driving car technology.

“The initial appeal for us was to see how we could meet the needs of a company like Anheuser-Busch,” Otto co-founder Lior Ron said. “But now after this successful test, we’re eager to see how it will handle other roads and other weather.”

Otto, which was founded early this year by Google Car veterans Ron and Anthony Levandowski, was bought by Uber last August for $670 million. Uber is boosting its self-driving tech initiative with Levandowski now in charge of leading the ride-hailing giant’s charge.

Otto’s – and Uber’s – interest in cornering the trucking market doesn’t need much explanation. In 2015, trucking brought in $726 billion in revenue and accounted for 81% of all freight transport, according to the American Trucking Associations. No wonder there are also so many different truck shipping companies that fulfill the transportation of the trucking companies different fleets to different locations.

The concept behind the company is to produce an aftermarket kit comprised of radar and camera sensors that, when harnessed to proprietary software, will allow the nation’s 350,000 owner-operator truckers to keep their trucks on the road longer without cutting into their carefully monitored driving time.

For Anheuser-Busch Inbev, a global spirits superpower valued at $213 billion, the appeal of the partnership was to “see if we could help pioneer technology that will make the jobs of those shipping product easier and safer,” says James Sembrot, senior director of logistics and safety for Anheuser-Busch.

“We liked the prospect of those folks traveling safer in trucks that help improve environmental impact (through increased gas mileage),” he says. “There’s no question in our mind that transportation companies will want to make these improvements.”

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