Self-Driving Truck Makes History
World’s First Delivery by Self-Driving Truck
Self-driving vehicles are here! Uber said on Thursday that it would begin testing self-driving cars in the City of Pittsburgh in the USA, within weeks, providing modified versions of Volvo SUV vehicles to get around the city.
On foot of this announcement, history was made on on October 20, 2016 with the world’s-first commercial delivery made by a self-driving vehicle.
The Uber self-driving truck, using technology developed by Otto, travelled a round-trip of 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado in the United States, to Colorado Springs, to deliver 2,000 cases of Budweiser Beer.
A human driver piloted the truck to a weigh station in Fort Collins but from there the driver simply monitored the two-hour trip to Colorado Springs only to take over controls when reaching the city limits.
A Colorado state patrol vehicle followed the truck to monitor the journey. The truck maintained an average speed of 55 mph throughout the trip. The Police Officer escorting the vehicle was impressed and said, it was “super nice” to see a truck stay safely in its lane for most of the trip.
The Self-Driving truck was equipped with two cameras for lane detection, a LIDAR (Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging) sensor to create a 3D environment, two front-facing radar sensors to detect obstacles and other vehicles on the road, and a GPS sensor to help track the truck’s location. Otto also mapped the route by driving one of its kitted-out trucks back and forth along Interstate 25 in advance of the delivery.
At the moment, the Law requires that a human driver be present in the truck but in the future, these vehicles will be totally autonomous.
Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, said, “We think this technology is inching closer to commercial availability.”
Senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch, James Sembrot commented on the delivery method, saying, “We view self-driving trucks as the future, and we want to be a part of that,”