Executive Briefings

Uber's Self-Driving Truck Makes First Commercial Delivery

The futurists of Silicon Valley may not have seen this one coming: The first commercial delivery made by a self-driving truck was 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer. Last week, Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, announced the completion of its first commercial delivery, having delivered its beer load from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, a roughly 120-mile trip on Interstate 25.

In recent years, Uber has predicted a future in which you can ride in a self-driving car that will take you where you want to go, no driver necessary. But the idea that commercial trucking could be done by robot is a relatively new idea - and a potentially controversial one, given the possibility that robots could one day replace human drivers.

“We think this technology is inching closer to commercial availability,” Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, said in an interview.

In August, Uber acquired Otto, a San Francisco start-up run by a number of veterans of Google’s long-running autonomous vehicle research.

Though largely symbolic, the beer delivery marks the first commercial partnership for Otto, which was founded less than a year ago. Terms of the deal between Otto and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the Budweiser brand, were not disclosed.

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In recent years, Uber has predicted a future in which you can ride in a self-driving car that will take you where you want to go, no driver necessary. But the idea that commercial trucking could be done by robot is a relatively new idea - and a potentially controversial one, given the possibility that robots could one day replace human drivers.

“We think this technology is inching closer to commercial availability,” Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, said in an interview.

In August, Uber acquired Otto, a San Francisco start-up run by a number of veterans of Google’s long-running autonomous vehicle research.

Though largely symbolic, the beer delivery marks the first commercial partnership for Otto, which was founded less than a year ago. Terms of the deal between Otto and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the Budweiser brand, were not disclosed.

Read Full Article