emfizz.com August 19, 2017

Tesla eyes autonomous big rig testing in Nevada

11 August 2017, 02:59 | Bernard Bryant

The correspondence and meetings with state officials show that Tesla moving forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber and Alphabet's former Google auto company, now called Waymo. Waymo, the Alphabet company created from the Google self-driving auto project, has also recently revealed that it's also in the early stages of creating autonomous truck tech.

The auto company is reportedly moving closer to testing a prototype for a long-haul, electric semi-truck that will be able to drive itself and "platoon", or travel closely together with other autonomous vehicles at high speeds.

Luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla reportedly plans to start testing a self-driving semi-truck.

Platooning could mean that the autonomy requirements aren't much more technically advanced that those found in current Autopilot systems for consumer Tesla vehicles. The tech would allow the transport trucks to move in convoy formation with a lead vehicle providing guidance for autonomous follow trucks, according to emails discovered by Reuters in which Tesla discusses the work with the Nevada DMV. That is, one lead truck provides the correct input and driving directions for the rest of the platoon to follow. Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture. Daimler, Volvo, and other semi-truck makers have invested in the technology and carried out demonstrations on highways.

Self-driving cars, though, have been tested on California roads. "On July 10, Zamani inquired further to the Nevada DMV about terms for a testing license, an email seen by Reuters shows". Last October, the Silicon Valley startup Otto used an autonomous truck to ship beer in Colorado.

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The commitment was also made clear and repeated during the company's annual shareholder meeting in June.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced over 12 months ago that he was planning to produce a heavy-duty electric truck.

Tesla has yet to comment on their new innovation.

Lithium ion battery researcher Venkat Viswanathan of Carnegie Mellon University said electric long-haul trucking is not economically feasible yet.

Diesel trucks used for cross-country hauls by United Parcel Service Inc can travel up to 500 miles (800 km) on a single tank, according to UPS's director of maintenance and engineering, global operations, Scott Phillippi.

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