In an exclusive report by Reuters, Tesla seems to be in discussions with Nevada state officials about testing autonomous trucks in the state. According to the report, Reuters has seen email correspondence between the two parties which says that there is a high probability that testing might start soon.
Elon Musk has made it no secret when he revealed that Tesla is looking into creating electric trucks and having autonomous electric trucks just reminds me of the scene in the movie Logan where the horses escaped and almost hit into those autonomous trucks on the highway. In this case, the technology is a little different.
In the movie, the trucks were travelling autonomously, or rather individually. In this case, the email correspondence seems to point that Tesla is working on “platooning” where the electric trucks would follow closely the lead vehicle. Whether the lead vehicle will have a driver, that is still unknown at this time. Platooning also means that it doesn’t have to rely a lot on various technologies as all these trucks would be doing is constantly following the lead vehicle.
Still, when it comes to autonomous trucks, one can’t but help think about the whole lawsuit between Waymo and Uber where Waymo accused Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer, of stealing 14,000 files related to self-driving technology and LiDAR. Anthony Levandowski went on to create a startup called Otto which focused on self-driving trucks which was eventually bought over by Uber for $600 million. The legal lawsuit between Waymo and Uber is still currently underway.
Many companies see the potential in autonomous trucks especially in the trucking industry over in the US. Even locally here in Malaysia, logistics play a key role and the truck/lorry industry is extremely competitive.