Tesla seeking to test driver-free electric trucks on public roads

Tesla seeking to test driver-free electric trucks on public roads

Tesla seeking to test driver-free electric trucks on public roads

If successful in its pursuits, Tesla could disrupt the truck manufacturers, the energy sector, and the drivers themselves. The information also apparently describes Tesla's desire to create long-haul electric semis that can drive themselves in "platoons", potentially following behind a lead truck piloted by a human driver.

The electric truck, which is due to be unveiled in September by Elon Musk's electric vehicle company, is close to prototype on-road testing, with both Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and California officials in talks to permit trials on public roads, according to documents seen by Reuters. Its most popular competition comes from Uber and Waymo, Google's former autonomous vehicle development company now under its parent firm Alphabet Inc. The advantages of platooning is that it's theoretically safer-if the lead truck slows down, the rest automatically follow.

Several companies are working on autonomous driving technology specifically for long-haul trucks, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. He made no reference to any dates for potential road tests. It's not surprising to see autonomy on Tesla's trucks.

Tesla declined to comment on the matter, referring Reuters to the previous statements by Musk, who has discussed the truck in tweets and at the annual shareholder meeting. Tesla plans to reveal the electric-semi truck next month. In one of these exchanges, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to DMV official April Sanborn about the agenda for a July 16 meeting.

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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".

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, and is about to start manufacturing the lower-priced Model 3 auto.

Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, said that electric long-haul trucking was not yet economically feasible yet, and that the massive batteries required to compete with the 500-mile range of diesel trucks would limit cargo carrying capacity.

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