Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc., is developing a self-driving semi-truck that can also move in platoons by automatically following a lead vehicle, according to a report from Reuters news service.
Tesla's plans were made public following an email discussion between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), as seen by Reuters.
Tesla is expected to launch an electric semi-truck at an event in late September with shipments to be within two years. California DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez also confirmed in the report that the Golden State is also planning on talking with Tesla about its autonomous trucking efforts.
The platoon technology described by Tesla would allow its electric-semi truck to engage in a lead-follow scenario.
Tesla and Uber are not the only companies to look at self driving cars. 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.
Several companies are working on autonomous driving technology specifically for long-haul trucks, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. It's not surprising to see autonomy on Tesla's trucks. Ars has reached out to Tesla for comment and we'll update if we receive a response. It also offers most of the trucks decreased wind resistance, which could help increase an EV semi's range-a major concern given the weight freight companies load semis with. In one of these exchanges, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to DMV official April Sanborn about the agenda for a July 16 meeting.
Musk has said that potential customers are eager to get a Tesla electric long-haul truck, but he faces doubt that the company can deliver.
The new electric truck in question here is believed to be able to travel in "platoons" - which means autonomously following the path of a leading vehicle. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher from Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters that long-haul electric trucks aren't commercially feasible yet.
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