Autonomous trucking company Otto drove more than 100 miles between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins to make its first-ever autonomous shipment. The cargo was beer. Anheuser-Busch collaborated on the pilot trip.
Otto, acquired by Uber in August, represents the ride-hailing giant’s first real foray into self-driving tech. Though the company is already developing its own autonomous vehicles, trucking will likely be the first real use case for driverless technology, because it’s so much easier to automate driving on highways than city streets. The National Highway Patrol Association made way for self-driving technology in September with a fresh slate of criteria for how self-driving technology will be assessed before it hits roadways. For the Colorado trek, Otto and Anheuser-Busch worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation. “They have been intimately involved in the planning and the testing that led to the pilot,” said Otto founder Lior Ron. The state patrol also helped test the technology beforehand, verifying the safety of the trucks and accompanying the truck on its route. There’s no word on when Uber Freight will finally arrive, but this is a big first step.