25 October 2016
Flagship pilot sees self-driving truck haul fully loaded trailer more than 100 miles on Interstate 25 with support of the state of Colorado
With support from the state of Colorado, Otto’s self-driving truck hauled a fully loaded trailer of Budweiser beer more than 120 miles on I-25 from Fort Collins, Colorado through Denver, to Colorado Springs. A professional truck driver was in the vehicle for the entire route, monitoring the delivery from the sleeper berth as the truck completed the route – exit-to-exit – entirely on its own without any driver intervention. The load originated at Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado and departed for its journey from the Fort Collins, Colorado weigh station. This milestone marks the first time in history that a self-driving vehicle has shipped commercial cargo, making it a landmark achievement for self-driving technology, the state of Colorado, and the transportation industry.
“The incredible success of this pilot shipment is an example of what is possible when you deploy self-driving technology. It also showcases the importance of collaboration with forward-looking states like Colorado and innovative companies like Anheuser-Busch,” said Otto Co-Founder Lior Ron. “By embracing this technology, both organizations are actively contributing to the creation of a safer and more efficient transportation network. We are excited to have reached this milestone together, and look forward to further rolling out our technology on the nation’s highways.”
Otto and Anheuser-Busch share a vision of enhancing the safety and efficiency of America’s highways. The partners embarked on this effort in response to the significant challenges facing the trucking industry. The shared vision for the self-driving technology is to transform this industry by:
- Reducing the number of fatalities on our roads. Nearly half of fatalities happen on highways, and 94% of accidents are caused by human error.
- Enabling fuel-efficient driving and therefore reducing emissions from freight trucks, which are currently responsible for 28% of all road vehicle CO2 emissions.
- Enhancing truck utilization and providing a sustainable solution for thedriver shortage that continues to put pressure on drivers to work long hours at the risk of safe driving.
“Anheuser-Busch is passionate about innovation and exploring ways to improve the safety, sustainability, and efficiency of the industries our business touches,” said James Sembrot, Sr. Director, Logistics Strategy at Anheuser-Busch. “We admire Otto’s vision that will shape the future of self-driving transportation. As we continue to partner with long-haul carriers to ship our beers, we hope to see this technology widely deployed across our highways to improve safety for all road users and work towards a low-emissions future.”
With this over 120-mile self-driving achievement, Otto, A-B and the State of Colorado are proving that the days of self-driving long-haul trucks are no longer a matter of imagination – they are here now, presenting viable, real-world opportunities that can be fully unlocked in the next few years.
One major opportunity for Otto’s technology is that drivers will be able to rest during long stretches of highway, and perhaps even catch up on sleep. That begs the question of whether the driver is “on-duty” with respect to hours of service laws while they are resting. To ensure the safety of all road users, these laws limit the number of hours truck drivers can work each day. Naturally, this also limits how much money drivers can make. Otto’s self-driving technology has the potential to extend productive hours without forcing drivers to choose between safety and earnings.
“Teaming with Otto to deploy self-driving technology on the roads of Colorado is a monumental step forward in advancing safety solutions that will help Colorado move towards zero deaths on our roads,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. “Colorado will continue to focus on working with Otto and others on how to safely deploy this technology on our roads.”