COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Uber, makers of the widely known ridesharing smartphone app, announced the first successful run of one of its self-driving freight trucks, developed by San Francisco-based company Otto.
In the video above, truck designer and engineer Otto says the truck completed a 120-mile trek from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs, Colorado, delivering 2,000 cases of Budweiser beers.
The delivery marks an important milestone for Otto, who was founded less than a year ago. Otto, comprised of engineers hailing from Google, Apple, Cruise, and Tesla, was acquired by Uber in August for $700 million.
For this initial beer delivery, Otto’s truck departed Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado, early Tuesday morning before reaching the interstate in Fort Collins. It then drove through Denver right alongside regular passenger car traffic. The truck traveled to its destination in Colorado Springs without issue.
Trained driver Walter Martin was present in the truck's cabin during the entire trip in case something were to have gone wrong.
"The driver would still be involved with the pickup, loading the freight, making sure it's secure in the back of the vehicle," said Martin. "And then once you're on the interstate, it's one switch, and it's driving itself down the road."
Since early 2015, Uber has been supporting research in the development of self-driving vehicles. The company launched its first self-driving car services to select customers in Pittsburgh last month. Uber owns a fleet of Fort Fusion cars, each equipped with 20 cameras, seven lasers, GPS, and radar equipment. They’re able to create a three-dimensional map, which utilizes landmarks and other contextual information to keep track of the cars’ location. An “Advanced Technology Center” has been established in Pittsburgh to develop this technology.